Kieran Treadwell rewarded for keeping the faith during international hiatus

Ulster lock savours two significant spells on the pitch during Ireland’s Triple Crown run

Ireland's depth chart has been questioned in some positions but the secondrow is looking pretty healthy. Both James Ryan and Ryan Baird were ruled out of this game yet Ireland could still re-unite Tadhg Beirne and Iain Henderson while affording Kieran Treadwell the final quarter.

At 26 and almost two metres tall (6’ 6”) and 115kg, Treadwell is an interesting addition, or re-addition, to the stock of locks. For a big man who can scrum on the right hand side of the secondrow, Treadwell is athletic and quick.

After bridging a gap of over four years when winning his fourth cap with a try-scoring appearance off the bench against Italy, Treadwell was afforded pretty much the final 20 minutes again on Saturday.

He put himself about, offering himself as a strong one-off carrier, and showed his mobility but was unlucky not to hold onto an offload inside by Lowe which flew at his face. In the overall scheme of things, to be on the pitch when Ireland sealed the Triple Crown was one of the moments of his career thus far.


“I came into this campaign thinking I was just going to enjoy every single moment of it, whether it be I’m just in the squad and making sure the boys are prepared for the game, or whether I’m playing. I wanted to enjoy every single moment of it and I really have.”

What made the day so special for the squad was having home fans and extended family there to witness them winning the Triple Crown.

“My mum, dad, and sister travelled over and a few mates travelled over,” said the English-born Treadwell. “My missus came down from Belfast with her family so it was a good crew and they’ve all been there supporting me the whole way, the ups and downs, so it was just fantastic to get this massive high.”

Treadwell, whose mother is Irish, played for both the Irish Under-18s and England Under-20s, before deciding to throw in his lot with Ulster and Ireland in 2016 at just 20 years of age.

“It was a massive decision at the time to come over and a bit of a risk but you don’t look back, just keep on going and working hard and hoping it will all come to fruition in the end. To get moments like today is massive and this is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.”

While he admitted he was surprised to be named in Ireland's initial Six Nations squad, even during that four-year interruption, Treadwell never gave up hope.

“The drive for me from when I came over has always been that I want to play at the highest level, pitting myself against the best and seeing how I can cope. I’ve always had that in the back of my mind, I’m still really, really hungry to push on now.

“This isn’t the last hurrah. I’m just going to keep on going, doing my thing and put the head down. Work and improve, you’re always learning so just keep on being a sponge and absorbing every single piece of information I can.”

Within his province, Treadwell’s set-piece work has come on significantly in the last year, and he admitted: “Ulster have been fantastic. The way we play in Ulster has been massive for me, I quite like to get into open play and that sort of attacking rugby. The boys around there, the young lads are really good and always testing you, pushing you to the best of your ability.

“I’ve been there for a few years now so I can lend my hand with a bit of experience. All the coaches have been massive. Dan (McFarland) and (forwards coach) Roddy (Grant) with my set-piece has been massive. Massive kudos to them and I really appreciate everything they do.”

With Ryan and Baird hopefully back in the mix, not to mention Ross Molony and the upwardly mobile Joe McCarthy, the queue for the summer plane to New Zealand will be a long one.

“Everyone wants to be involved,” said Treadwell. “I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and take what I’ve learned from these nine weeks here to keep pushing on. Do what I do here for Ulster and hopefully that’s enough to get back on the plane to New Zealand.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times