Egan relishing chance to tackle England challenge

Most opposing players harbour painful memories of games against England’s Women, but few match those of Ailis Egan.

Egan relishing chance to tackle England challenge

The Old Belvedere tighthead prop was a relative novice in terms of international rugby when she faced England’s already veteran loosehead Rochelle Clark when the sides met in the Six Nations four years ago.

We’ll let her take up the story from there.

“I have had some interesting games against England,” Egan explained with a smile before tonight’s latest meeting of the sides in Ashbourne.” I got my ribs broken on my first start, which was against them in 2011.

“In the scrum. I got a lesson. ‘Rocky’ taught me a lesson in how not to prop, basically. I love playing against her now. She would be up there with the best props in the world so it will be a really big battle.”

Egan and Clark will pack down opposite one another again this evening on what will be the first meeting between the sides since England dominated the Irish in a one-sided World Cup semi-final in Paris six months ago.

“It’s a massive game, especially from the pack’s perspective, because we were mangled in the World Cup game so we have a lot to prove. It’s a great opportunity. I love playing England. It’s a great opportunity to see where you are, because they are the best team in the world.”

England are without a handful of players rerouted for Sevens duty — as was the case when Ireland won 31-0 in Meath two years ago — but Ireland too are recalibrating somewhat, with the loss of key players and their management group post-World Cup. Both sides have won one and lost another thus far this month: Ireland accounting for Italy and losing agonisingly to France, England getting nilled in Wales before taking their frustrations out on the Azzurri in round two.

IRELAND: N Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); H Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), J Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), K Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster), A Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); N Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), L Muldoon (Skewen); R O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), G Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo), A Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster); S Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), ML Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster); P Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Ce Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), H O’Brien (Highfield/Munster).

ENGLAND: L Catell; R Laybourn, A Brown, C Large, S Gregson; K Mclean, B Blackburn; R Clark, V Fleetwood, L Keates; T Taylor, A Scott; A Matthews, H Gallagher, H Millar-Mills.

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