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BATH RUGBY: Bath comes first for scrum-half Stringer
SCRUM-HALF Peter Stringer is not yet ready to close the chapter on his glittering international career, but insists securing success with Bath remains top of his priority list.
The veteran Irish star, 35, remains two caps short of the century mark, having not featured for his country since before the 2011 World Cup, but has rebuilt his club career with a stellar spell at the Rec since joining on loan in January.
Stringer comes up against another Irish scrum-half currently out of the international fold in London Irish’s Tomas O’Leary in the Aviva Premiership tomorrow, but has played down the significance of that head to head.
Former Leinster coach Joe Schmidt has taken charge of the Ireland set-up this season and Stringer said: “You certainly don’t turn it (international rugby) down.
“It’s something that if you are playing regularly for your club or your province back home, you’re hoping you are in contention for international set-up. I suppose the way it’s structured you appreciate the coaches don’t look at players outside of Ireland that often.
“I’d love to play for Ireland again, but Bath is the priority. First and foremost, I wanted to come over and I wanted to be playing regular rugby.
“If something leads from this, so be it. My aim is to play regularly with Bath and play well and if something happens then that’s a bonus.’’
O’Leary’s star rose during Ireland’s 2009 Grand Slam campaign before injury and form saw him too slip out of the reckoning, but Stringer added: “I’m just going to do what I do normally. I don’t need another incentive to play well.
“From the outside, people will see one Irish scrum-half against another, but that’s something for others to talk about.
“I’m still at that stage where I’m still keen to play at the highest level. As long as I have that ambition, I’ll continue to play.
“I’ve come over here and it’s a new lease of life."
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