Ireland Rugby World Cup star Ryan Baird has revealed strange information about his idols and hobbies outside of the sport he plays. The Leinster man praised the work of Irish strikers coach Paul O’Connell when asked if the Munster legend influenced his growing up.
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Baird unexpectedly said no and showed another sports icon that has nothing to do with rugby. He said: I would not look up to anyone in rugby. It was more tennis, Nadal was my idol when I was growing up.
I enjoyed watching and playing rugby, but I would idolize Nadal. Tennis was a popular sport in the Byrd household. At the age of 12, he went to Wimbledon for the first time. Earlier this summer, he finally returned to the venue. He explained: It was funny, we arrived at 5 pm or so, just queued up, got a ticket for 18 pounds, it was incredible.
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Baird also revealed another of his hobbies, which again appears to be the opposite of the intensity and brutality of the sport he plays professionally. He said: I love fishing. I haven’t really done it in a long time, just because of the holidays and all that, but I love fishing.
Yesterday we played in Carton and the river that flows there, you can see the fish below and I thought I would like to get a line and try to catch it. But it’s very therapeutic, fishing, because you’re there and you don’t know when you’re going to get hit, or you might not, so it teaches you a high level of discipline and patience.
Then, if it’s a good day, it’s calm, however, you can hear the birds around you and just relax. The 23-year-old is set to represent Ireland at the Rugby World Cup in September. Back in March, he opened up about another of his antics he does before getting dressed.
Baird explained, I just wrote down the points the night before, kept a diary, I’ll list a couple of things that I want to focus on. Many of us do this. It’s a kind of zoning because you got so much information during the week. You just want to slowly turn it into two or three words – there are two or three lines that just start it, so I write it down on my wrist.
What is written is personal, so he keeps most of his thoughts to himself. But his highlight before his first Six Nations appearance of the season against Italy was confidence. Baird said: The last bit is trust, trust that you know most of the information. I went out and just trusted it.
“I didn’t think too much there. Whatever is in front of me, go and do it, I visualized a lot of it during the week.”
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When it comes to pre-arranged 10-minute interviews with elite athletes, it’s easy to walk away thinking you didn’t really know them. Time is limited and the interviewee, in his own right, often prefers to stick to the script.
But with Ryan Baird’s Irish castle, it didn’t make sense. As Ireland’s preparations for the Rugby World Cup are in full swing, Baird recently met with reporters during press day at the Irish Rugby Football Union Excellence Center in Dublin.
While the time spent with Leinster’s second row was short, it proved to be a fascinating discussion, with rugby only a small part of the conversation. However, there was plenty of time to talk about Baird’s interests beyond how he makes a living. Rugby fans can book Uruguay Vs Namibia Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
I love fishing. I haven’t done it in a while, just because of the holidays and all, but I love fishing, he says, still shivering from the ice bath he took before his media duties. Playing yesterday in Carton and the river that flows there, you can see the fish and I thought I would like to get a line and try to catch it.
I feel very present when I’m fishing
Baird, who turns 24 on Wednesday, introduced to fishing through his father. It was his 12th birthday and he enjoyed fishing for mackerel, pollock and cod off Kilmore Key in Wexford. He says it took him a long time to get his hands on it again. But having rediscovered his love for it, fishing as well as the occasional round of golf gives him a welcome sense of solitude away from the intense rugby at Test level.
It’s very therapeutic, fishing, because you’re there and you don’t know when you’re going to get hit or you may not, so it teaches you a high level of discipline and patience. Then if it’s a good day, it’s calm, you can hear the birds around you and just relax. It’s great.
“A lot of the time I just walked alone. It’s very relaxing. I feel very real when I’m there.”
Baird is part of Ireland’s 42-man squad that test ahead of the Rugby World Cup warm-up matches, which kick off with a home test against Italy on August 5 in Dublin. With 11 caps, he is one of the most inexperienced members of the group but has already shown his skills in Tests with Ireland’s impressive Grand Slam victory over England in March when Andy Farrell’s side put on a terrific performance.
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Making the final 33-man Rugby World Cup team and representing Ireland in France would undoubtedly surpass England as the pinnacle of Baird’s international career, but it is interesting to note that as a child he did not idolize previous generations of Irish RWC 2023 stars.
Indeed, the athlete who really caught his attention was the tennis star Rafael Nadal, whose struggle, rivalry and passion captured the young Byrd’s imagination. I wouldn’t look up to anyone in rugby, he admits.
It was more tennis, Nadal was my idol when I was growing up. I enjoyed watching and playing rugby, but I would idolize Nadal. But Baird also admits he blown away by meeting Paul O’Connell, an icon of Ireland, British and Irish lions, who is now part of Farrell’s backstage team.
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When they first met, Baird noticed and respected O’Connell’s knowledge and aura. Paulie approached Baird as he walked in, and Baird just blown away. O’Connell, a 2009 Grand Slam winner and three-time Lions tourist, is highly respected in Irish rugby circles. You see him on TV, but I never really looked at him it was Paul O’Connell, the great captain, the Lions tour, so successful.
“But then you come here and you see why he was so successful. That was the most impressive part.”
Of course, with the Rugby World Cup approaching. The tournament should be a topic of discussion at some point, and Baird admits he has his eye on South Africa and New Zealand in the current Rugby Championship.
Ireland will play the reigning world champions Springboks in their third pool match in France on September 23. While the All Blacks are potential quarter-final rivals if both teams go that far. Yes, you have a slight peak in their line-outs and it’s the same with New Zealand. Just see if there are any trends that teams are trying to exploit at the moment before the Rugby World Cup. Debuting in Ireland at the 2021 Six Nations.
But I wouldn’t pay too much attention to it, I would pay more attention to it. This refers to Ireland’s training program, of course. Like the rest of his teammates, Baird immersed himself in preparation for warm-up games. And when asked if he studies other players in practice, his response is, unsurprisingly, thoughtful.
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We only talked about it yesterday, and then we sat down and chatted about what we are all looking at separately. You can learn a lot just by watching them on laptops, seeing them doing things. For example, if I’m struggling to line up on the defensive line. I look at someone who’s really good at it, and I poke around in their brain, and they’re like.
There is probably someone in this building who is better than you at almost everything. You will have one or two superpowers, you don’t need too many of them, and then you see strangers. Find fault with them and choose someone else.
“It’s when you get the best results, when everyone shares with each other and it’s collaborative because everyone is different and you try to learn from each person.”
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