Ireland centre Jared Payne is eager to prove the doubters wrong and show his commitment to the cause against South Africa on Saturday.
Ireland centre Jared Payne is eager to prove the doubters wrong and show his commitment to the cause against South Africa in Dublin on Saturday.
The 29-year-old, who was born in New Zealand, will start alongside Robbie Henshaw, and won’t allow those questioning his loyalties affect him.
“They can think and say what they like, it’s not for me to tell them what to think or say,” he told reporters at Ireland’s team hotel on Thursday.
“All I will say is that I have lived in Ireland for the past three years (he joined Ulster from the Blues) and I am passionate about the Irish national side.
“To the extent that I came and watched all their matches last season and the November Tests.”
Payne, who also had spells with the Chiefs, Crusaders and Blues in Super Rugby, the latter where he was a virtual ever present for one season, said those who doubted his full hearted commitment to the Irish cause should think about what he potentially gave up.
“It was a huge decision for me to take as by agreeing to move to Ulster I was saying goodbye to the possibility of playing for the All Blacks,” said the New Zealand U21 representative.
“However, in the end I decided why not take the chance.”
He added: “I don’t think I would say I’ve been waiting for this (selection) as to me you can’t wait for things to happen otherwise they pass you by.”
“Now that it has happened I am really stoked and very proud. This is a great opportunity for me and I intend to take it.”