Enya Breen is determined to grab Irish opportunity

Ireland's Enya Breen. Photo: Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Cian Tracey

The glass-half-full approach, in terms of taking on the world’s best team without the majority of your first-choice backline, is that it gives fringe players a chance to get some valuable game-time.

Ireland may be crying out for more strength in depth – and while this isn’t exactly the way Greg McWilliams would have liked to expose some of his less experienced players to the cut and thrust of the Six Nations, he had no choice.

For the likes of Enya Breen, facing England on Sunday at Welford Road may be a daunting occasion, yet it is one that Ireland are nevertheless relishing.

Even if the backs will have an unfamiliar look to the side which started the first three rounds, Breen believes cohesion will not be an issue.

“It’s not really a new backline as we’ve all been involved in camp the last two months, people in and out, and training on Tuesday nights,” the 22-year-old Cork native said. “We’ve all been waiting on the fringes, waiting for an opportunity.”

Since making her international debut in the 2019 Six Nations, Breen’s progress has been hampered by injury – and, by her own admission, a loss of form.

But with Stacey Flood and Eve Higgins both away on sevens duty for the last two rounds of the Six Nations, Breen will hope to make up for lost time in Ireland’s midfield.

“I picked up a few injuries over the years, but that’s part and parcel of playing,” she maintains.

“I’d have loved to have been able to kick on since 2019 and I think I have.

“The new environment here really suits me, it’s very ambitious and very positive and I’m feeling quite robust. Touch wood, that stays the same.

“I got injured at the start of the 2020 Six Nations, then Covid hit and I returned for the Italian game.

“Last year I was in and out of the squad, that was just personal form. I can’t blame that on injury, but I’ve gotten to a place where I’m enjoying my rugby again. I have a few games under my belt, that’s stood to me. Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity over the next two weeks.”

Ireland are set to tour Japan this summer, which offers Breen and her team-mates another chance for further development.

“It’s massive, it provides an opportunity for us to touch base and keep involved in a camp through the summer, which we’ve never had before,” Breen added.

“We’ve a massive few years ahead, so this tour will be the start of that – and, hopefully, help us kick on to the future.”