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'It was really emotional because you don't know the last time you're going to put on an Irish jersey'

After her recent injury return, Ireland fullback Eimear Considine is relishing facing England.

Eimear Considine with her Irish teammates during the Wales game.
Eimear Considine with her Irish teammates during the Wales game.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

WHILE INJURY DERAILED Eimear Considine’s 2020 Six Nations campaign early on, the Ireland star is relishing the challenge of facing defending champions England on Sunday.

The in-form full-back missed her side’s opener against Scotland in Donnybrook because of a calf injury, but she returned to light up the south Dublin venue as Adam Griggs’ charges welcomed Wales to the capital a week later.

Considine contributed heavily in the confidence-boosting 31-12 last Sunday when Ireland made it back-to-back wins in the eye of Storm Ciara.

And the 28-year-old was happier than anyone to be back in action after the knock.

“Ah, do you know, it makes you really be grateful,” she told The42 at the launch of Rugby Players Ireland and Zurich’s Tackle Your Feelings programme and app yesterday.

“You always question it, every day like, ‘Oh God, I’m not going to get my jersey back,’ or, ‘Someone else is better than me.’ You always have those questions, but when you’re injured, you’re like, ‘There’s 100% chance you’re gone from the squad.’

That jersey presentation ahead of the Welsh game was so important. It was really emotional because you don’t know… someone said it to me before, you don’t know the last time you’re going to put on an Irish jersey.

“You might never be selected again, you might get injured, you don’t know when the last time you’re going to put that jersey on is. It was even more special when you miss a game.

“They’re such a great bunch of girls that you genuinely want to be out there for them. It was great that they got the result in the first game and then a really good performance against Wales the last day.”

The 18-14 victory over the Scots and the Welsh win means that after just two games this year, they’ve already collected more points that their entire 2019 Six Nations campaign when they recorded their worst finish in 13 years and won just one game from five.

Their biggest test to date is yet to come though, as Considine is well aware.

Ireland went top of the table for a few hours after their second win, as England and Scotland’s fixture was called off — but the Red Roses sent a statement of intent in their rescheduled clash last Monday.

The defending Grand Slam champions — who are fully professional — hammered the Scots 53-0 in awful conditions, and returned to the summit on points difference.

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eimear-considine Considine was on hand to launch the new Tackle Your Feelings Schools mental wellbeing programme and App as part of their #ImTakingControl campaign. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

While Ireland lost 51-7 when the sides met last year (Scotland lost 80-0 in 2019), they’re a more settled side this time around and will go in full of belief after two big home wins.

“There’s no point saying it’s going to be an easy game,” Considine noted. “We know we have a huge challenge against us, especially since they beat France, and they smashed Scotland last week in horrendous conditions as well in the snow and the sleet.

Look, you have to compare yourself with the best in the world and they are second best in the world at the moment. That’s where we want to be. We have to challenge ourselves.

“Obviously the Six Nations is super important for us, we have set our target as three home wins. We obviously go out to win every single game.

“A good performance would put is in the right direction. We’re obviously looking forward to the World Cup qualifiers as well, so our performances are just going to build the confidence that we need going into those qualifiers after the Six Nations.”

As Griggs — who’s without the services of 18-year-old Beibhinn Parsons due to Leaving Cert commitments — said after the bonus-point win against Wales:

“With that confidence, we’ve got nothing to lose. They’re second in the world, they’ve won the Grand Slam, they’ve done it all. What’s there for us to lose?”

***

Yesterday, Eimear Considine shared her personal story, and opened up on the impact of her father’s tragic death:

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Emma Duffy

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