Sophie Spence

Irish Women’s Rugby player and Nissan Generation Next Select 2016

Sophie is an integral part of Ireland’s most successful women’s rugby team ever. She has helped Ireland win two 6 Nations tournament and last year was nominated for WORLD RUGBY player of the year. As well as playing rugby, Sophie plans to develop outstanding rugby camps across the country to give young girls the opportunity to learn and develop their skills in the sport.

Irish rugby star Sophie Spence has recovered from injury and returned to the Ireland squad and winning ways, scoring a try to help Ireland to a comprehensive win over Italy in the Six Nations.
February 20, 2017

January started well with my return to training after four months out recovering from my concussion injury. It was all about getting back into the gym, doing conditioning work and returning to playing club matches with Old Belvedere.

From there, I was invited into the camp training sessions with the Ireland squad and after six weeks training I was brought back for the Six Nations game against Italy. I came on after half time, scoring a try after fourteen minutes which helped Ireland to win the game on a scoreline of 27 – 3.

It felt absolutely fantastic to be back and it’s always an honour to pull on the green jersey. It certainly felt different after being out for so many months. It is a different level again to club rugby with the intensity and speed of the game. It was a bit of shock to the system, like starting all over again, but it was great to be back in the Ireland jersey.

I’m due to spend the next weekend in camp in preparation for the game against France which will be another tough game.

I am also busy making preparation for the Spence Rugby Academy camps which get underway in April, running all the way up the Women’s Rugby World Cup in August. I am working with some great sponsors this year with Nissan, Impact Gum Shields, Irish Biltong and BackBaller kindly supplying some great competition prizes.

Everything is also going well in DCU where I work as Rugby Development Officer. Both women’s teams are looking like they are going to qualify for the semi-final and the men’s team are ready to start the Brendan Johnston Cup. The number of girls playing rugby at DCU has increased from eight to 60 during the past three years that I have been working with the college and that’s one result that I’m particularly pleased about.

January Update
February 14, 2017

Injury doesn’t stop Sophie this November
December 10, 2016

December 9, 2016

Ireland rugby star Sophie Spence has taken some time out to recover from injury but is already focused on 2017, the World Cup and plans to develop her rugby academy.

I am on week 10 of being out after sustaining a concussion but my recovery is going well and I hope to be able to return to play from next week. I had to take a complete break from rugby and training and I have a meeting with the neurologist scheduled as part of the process of making sure I am fit to return to play.

It was unfortunate that I couldn’t play in the Autumn International Series but I was there to support the girls. We lost all three games with the game against England being the closest at 10 – 12. We put in a very strong performance in that game playing some good rugby.

The game against Canada gave a lot of new players game-time which will create depth within the squad for next summer’s World Cup. The New Zealand game was as tough as expected. They are the best team in the world and the experience of having played them will also stand to the squad.

I delighted to announce that Nissan is going to support the Spence Rugby Academy. I have a lot of exciting plans for the Academy in 2017 including hosting camps with clubs north and south to coincide with the World Cup. I am looking forward to working with the clubs and their players to develop the game.

We just finished up the League at DCU with the last men’s game this week. We had some very positive performances from both the men’s and women’s team this year. We’re looking forward to a scrum session with former Irish international and women’s scrum coach Peter Bracken next week.

It was also exciting to be involved in the World Cup draw last month. We now know that we are going to face France, Australia and one other team so we can start to prepare for that and to plan for next August. I’m looking forward to 2017 and the challenges ahead.

Busy October for Sophie!
November 5, 2016

Join Sophie at Spence Academy, Aviva Minis Launch and school visits.

October 9, 2016

Rugby star Sophie Spence has got the new season off to a flying start and is excited about the first Autumn International Series which includes test matches against England, Canada and New Zealand.

I’ve had a great start to the season with my club Old Belvedere winning five of the six games we have played in the AIL League. There are a number of teams at the top of the table with little between them. We are lying third behind U.L. Bohemian and Galwegians but there is no sure winner at this stage and it is shaping up to be an exciting tournament.

Off the pitch, I visited the National Ploughing Championship for the first time, which was a great experience. I did some rugby skills for youngsters at the Nissan stand putting players of all ages through a few drills and actions. It was really nice to see people get involved and to talk to them about women’s rugby.

I also joined my Irish teammate, Ailish Egan, for an interview and discussion with Eir who are televising our World Cup matches next year. It was great to tell the story of where the game has come from since 2013, to discuss the growth of women’s rugby and to give an insight into our lives as Irish internationals.

I also hosted one of my academy sessions at Dundalk RFC. The half-day event was a great success with over 30 girls aged from 12 to 18 years participating. It was well supported by the Club President and parents and there was a fantastic buzz on the day as we focused on a number of skills, handling, decision-making, contact and game awareness.

I am also back working at DCU as the university’s Rugby Development Officer. I oversee both the women’s and men’s teams and my role also includes getting out and doing recruitment talks with students interested in playing rugby and progressing to higher education.

I really enjoy the visits to the schools which is about telling them my story and about the decisions I made to succeed academically and in sport. It’s about inspiring them and letting them know that you don’t have to be the best at everything to succeed, that you can get ahead just as well if you work hard and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals.

Excitement is also mounting inside the Irish camp as we focus on the forthcoming Autumn International Series. We play England on November 12, Canada on November 19 and New Zealand on November 27. All of the games kick-off at 2 p.m. in UCD and we are looking forward to great home ground support.

Visiting the Ploughing championships
October 3, 2016

View Sophie’s September vlog as she travels to Barcelona and joins Nissan at the ploughing championships!

Road Trip to Northern Ireland
September 7, 2016

Join Sophie on a trip to Norther Ireland this August – where the Nissan Qashqai gets a thumbs up for her granny!

17 weeks of pre-training competed
September 6, 2016

After seventeen weeks of pre-training, rugby star Sophie Spence is looking forward to getting some game time under her belt in the AIL League and in the first ever home autumn international series with test games against England, Canada and New Zealand.

Right now I’m tired. Pre-season training for the seventeenth week has just finished. The hard work is done now and I’m looking forward to the season ahead. I have my first club game with Old Belvedere in the AIL League next Sunday followed by the Autumn International Series and Interprovincial Series.

Pre-season training is intense. We have three gym sessions per week, training in the gym at the Aviva. Then a skills sessions with the head coach and a running conditioning session. We have a club session back with our clubs once a week before the league starts and an off-feet training session like rowing or biking. I prefer the bike. I tried rowing and it’s not so easy with all the co-ordination.

It’s been tiring but it’s all being worthwhile and the final fitness test takes place this Saturday. The last few months have been all about working hard and I’m sure it will all pay off. I can’t wait to get back to playing after such a long pre-season.

I’m really looking forward to the first Autumn International Series in November where we have games against England, New Zealand and Canada. These are the best three teams in the world and it will be great to get those games under our belt and to see what the other teams are about.

We play England on November 13, Canada on November 19 and New Zealand on November 27. All of the games take place in UCD with 2 p.m. kick-off. We haven’t played Canada before and we’ve only had the experience of playing New Zealand once at the World Cup, which was a completely different situation.

We still have a lot of work to do as a squad. The other teams will be trying to find their feet too and trying to get their flow back as a squad of 15. We will use the games as a starting platform to build up to the World Cup. It’s all about getting match time and putting things in place for what we are aiming to achieve down the line.




Sophie Spence – Spence Academy
August 14, 2016

Join Sophie on her first vlog as Generation Next Ambassador. Her July is filled with lots of conditioning, training and Spence Academy sessions.