The glass-half-full approach to going up against the world’s best team without taking on the majority of your first-choice defenders is to allow fringe players a chance to gain valuable playing time.
Reland may be crying out for more strength at depth – and while Greg McWilliams would not have liked to expose some of his less-experienced players to the thrashing of the Six Nations in that way, he had no choice.
Sunday’s clash with England at Welford Road might be a scary event for the likes of Enya Breen, but it’s one that Ireland nonetheless enjoys.
Although the full-backs will have an unfamiliar look at the side that started in the first three rounds, Breen believes cohesion won’t be an issue.
“It’s not really a new backline as we’ve all been involved with camp for the last two months, people in and out and training on Tuesday nights,” said the 22-year-old Cork native. “We’ve all been waiting on the edge, waiting for an opportunity.”
Since making her international debut with the Six Nations in 2019, Breen’s progress has been hampered by injuries – and by her own admission, a loss of form.
But with Stacey Flood and Eve Higgins both away in sevens in the last two rounds of the Six Nations, Breen is hoping to make up lost time in Ireland’s midfield.
“I’ve picked up a few injuries over the years, but that’s part of playing,” she claims.
“I would have loved to be able to continue since 2019 and I think I did.
“The new environment here suits me very well, it’s very ambitious and very positive and I feel pretty robust. Touch wood, that stays the same.
“I got injured at the start of the 2020 Six Nations, then Covid hit and I returned to the Italian game.
“Last year I was in and out of the squad, that was just personal form. I can’t blame it on injuries but I’ve gotten to a point where I’m enjoying my rugby again. I’ve got a few games under my belt, that stands for me. Hopefully I’ll get an opportunity in the next two weeks.”
Ireland are set to tour Japan this summer, giving Breen and her teammates another chance to develop.
“It’s tremendous, it gives us an opportunity to network and attend a camp all summer long that we’ve never had before,” added Breen.
“We’ve got a massive couple of years ahead of us, so this tour will be the start of that – and hopefully help us launch the future.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/enya-breen-is-determined-to-grab-irish-opportunity-41572353.html Enya Breen is determined to seize the Irish opportunity