Born on 22nd of March 1966, Peter Clohessy is one of Ireland’s most famous International sports stars. Known as The Claw, Peter began his career as an amateur and ended in the professional era still first choice prop for both his country and provence. Infamous for the fact that he could play both the tighthead and loosehead prop position, a unique quality not seen in many.
Peter gained 54 International caps and over 100 Munster caps. Apart from his obvious excellence at playing rugby, Peter received far more media coverage for his “hard man” approach to games and because of this most players would admit they would prefer to play with Peter than against him!
Peter played Super 12 rugby for The Queensland Reds in Australia in 1997. He was summoned home early as he was the first Irish player to be selected for a Lion’s team not having played for his International team that year. Unfortunately it was not meant to be as Peter had to withdraw from the Lion’s Tour due to a back injury. It was this same year rugby turned professional in Ireland, which suited Peter, having come back from Australia fitter than ever.
Peter’s first game for Ireland was against France on the 20th of February 1993 in the old Lansdowne Road. So in 2002, when Peter announced his retirement, it was fitting that his final International rugby match would be the Ireland v France six nations game in Paris.
Two days after his final international match Peter almost went out forever in a blaze of glory. Peter had a life-threatening accident with a petrol explosion while burning some waste. He suffered very serious burns to his face and arm when he had gone on fire and had to roll in the grass to put it out. Nobody expected Peter would play rugby again for Munster seeing as their semi-final clash against Castres in Beziers was only a week after the accident. But yet again that indomitable spirit that is “The Claw” spurred him to a near miraculous recovery, and he played a great match wearing a specially made arm guard to protect him. Munster had a terrific victory and went on to play Leicester in the final in Cardiff, in yet another twist of fate Munster were denied victory in what would have been a just reward for a man who had the most remarkable rugby career.
Peter ended his career first choice prop for both his country and province and remains to this day a legend in world rugby.