Huddersfield Giants Women’s star labels international call-up her “biggest achievement”

HUDDERSFIELD GIANTS WOMEN’S star Meg Preston has labelled her international call-up with Ireland her “biggest achievement.”

Ireland go up against Wales this Saturday at Cardiff University Sports Fields (with a 2.45pm kick-off) and Preston will debut for Matty Kennerson’s Ireland.

Preston is relishing the opportunity, but hasn’t let the occasion get to her: “I’m feeling really good about it, excited but nervous obviously! I’ll be keeping to the same routine as I would in the build-up to any game, plenty of water, plenty of good foods and plenty of sleep.

“This is 100% the biggest achievement of my sporting career. I can’t put it into words how much it means to me and my family. I just hope I go out there and perform to my best to make them all proud at the weekend.”

A first-time call-up to the Ireland National Team, the Giants playmaker has settled in well in her new environment: “The girls are brilliant, they’ve been so welcoming I feel like I’ve fit straight in. A few faces I recognise from the Women’s Super League so good to have some familiarity around the team.

“We’ve just had a 2-day camp in Dublin at the latest camp and honestly, it was the best camp to date. Everything seemed to click nicely, the effort and intensity was high, and it was a really good camp followed by some nice team bonding. It’s all we could have asked for going into our first game together.

“There are quite a few new additions to the squad, myself included, though there is a core group of players that have played for Ireland in previous games. I think that stability has been a real bonus heading into a new period for Ireland, they’ve made us feel really welcome and have set the Ireland ethos to us.

“Despite the amount of new players, you would have thought the squad had been together a while with how well and how quickly things have come together. There’s a great level of momentum buzzing around the team in anticipation for the weekend.

Ireland are aware of the gritty opponents of Wales, which Preston previews: “They are a challenging side and we expect a tough game for the full 80 minutes. I think we just need to concentrate on ourselves, stick to our game plan and play some good rugby. If we do that, there’s no doubt things will go our way.

“We’ve played them before – our very first international actually – and came out the better side in Wales so we know what to expect from the conditions and the side themselves.

A fair few of their players have been integrated across the WSL and Challenge Cup, so you can pick up little things from the individual players and their traits, which in turn can help understand them as a unit.”

The clash doesn’t just have bragging rights on offer, there’s also World Cup Qualification to work for: “To make it to Australia would be a massive achievement and the goal for the entire squad is to obviously qualify for the World Cup.

“We all know how much it means, it’s hard not to think about the possibility of being there, but we have to take it game by game. We don’t want to get carried away with ourselves so for now the focus is solely on the Wales game and then we’ll go from there.”

Ireland will also take on the winner of Italy vs Netherlands in two weeks time so a home fixture in Dublin is guaranteed.

Preston continued: “It’s a massive chance for us to secure qualification and is an amazing occasion for us to be a part of. Again, it would be another huge achievement for me to play for Ireland, every game means a lot to me so to earn another cap for this side would be brilliant.

“With it being in Dublin, the prospect of it is something I’m really excited about. I’ll definitely be aiming to keep my place in the squad for the game and I’ll be putting my all in at every chance I get to ensure that!”

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