- Chamberlain looks to maintain momentum against Ireland
- Widespread changes mean a different look team
England centre Abigail Chamberlain is ready for the Ireland challenge following a dream debut against Scotland in last weekend’s Six Nations, scoring two tries on her first outing in an England shirt.
The scores were the icing on the cake in a dominant display by Gary Street's charges, with the 2012 Six Nations champions getting this year's campaign off to the best possible start.
The win was particularly memorable for Chamberlain as she lined out for her first appearance: "I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the Six Nations, and a better way to get my first cap. Scoring and winning by that much and the team coming together like that was a pretty special feeling."
Following the 76-0 victory over Scotland, England are expecting a tough encounter with their Irish hosts at Ashbourne RFC tomorrow (kick off, 2pm).
Speaking about the game, Chamberlain said: “I’ve been told that it’s going to be a much tougher challenge. I’ve never played Ireland but I know a few of the girls that have played. I’ve watched the games before in the Six Nations and obviously I’ve seen the results, and I’m more than aware that Ireland will step up their game for England.
“It’s the opponent that they want. They want to beat us and I think that they may think this is their opportunity, or they may have thought it prior to the Scotland game. But as a group of girls, we like a challenge; we’ll be grateful for them to bring a challenge and we’ll see what we can do with it.”
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Last weekend's win was built on a powerful first-half forwards performance, which provided the platform for Chamberlain and the backline to reap the rewards: "The forwards did a phenomenal job. The Scots did a lot of pick-and-gos which defensively, is hitting the forwards, and they did a great job of keeping them out for us, setting that platform, and that’s reflected in the scoreline."
With a large number of players involved in the England Women's Sevens campaign, Chamberlain formed part of a relatively inexperienced side that, despite youth and a lack of caps, always looked in control.
"I don’t think you ever go into a game expecting that sort of result, and we did expect it to be difficult. We’ve had two weekends training together so it would have been a bit foolish to expect that result. Those two weekends had been good and we did click on the pitch; it came together really well. We were really comfortable together, defended as a group and attacked as a group so it did all come together."
Head Coach Street has made seven changes for tomorrow's match, a move that hasn't surprised Chamberlain.
"He has brought in some pretty good players and made some changes, and I know there’s an element of rotation going on over the Six Nations – that was made clear to some of the players beforehand. Players that were playing in the last game are great players, players that are playing in this game are great players and I’m sure he’s got his ideas for strengths and where he wants to attack."