Thursday 29 September 2016

Irish women target home victory with one eye on World Cup

Published 12/03/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's head coach Tom Tierney. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Ireland's head coach Tom Tierney. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile

"It's very easy to be conservative and stay with what you have if you're winning games. There's no point having players on the bench and only knowing what they can do for maybe five minutes. If you don't do it, it will come back to haunt you."

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The words of one Ireland coach who is looking to steer his side back to winning ways after back-to-back defeats but not the one that many would have hoped to have adopted such an open-minded approach with the Six Nations title out of reach.

Granted the Ireland Women are at a different stage to the men but Tom Tierney's mindset is certainly one that is positively looking towards the future.

Kim Flood and Liz Burke will make their international debuts against Italy at Donnybrook tomorrow (1.0) and should Claire McLaughlin do the same from the bench, Tierney will have capped 14 new players since the November international.

Experience

"With the experience now that the girls have gained because of the defeats, they'll get better for it," Tierney maintained.

"Your greatest learnings come from your biggest disappointments. We got so much out of this Six Nations.

"That is obviously one of our strategic goals this year; to widen the player base and to have achieved that with one game to go in a Six Nations is a massive return. It's a huge thing for us if we want to be competitive in a World Cup in a year's time.

"It has to happen this year because we have to develop a style of play that we're able to play under pressure against the best teams in the world."

With two home games to come against Italy and Scotland next week, Ireland will be confident of finishing with three wins in total and as captain Niamh Briggs rightly pointed out, it's not too long ago that would have been considered to be progress.

"For me personally, I hate to lose more than I enjoy winning," Briggs admitted.

"People will talk about this as being a disappointing season but that's a measure of where we are now. The pressure we're under is different."

Verdict: Ireland

Ireland Women - K Flood; L Burke, N Briggs (capt), S Naoupu, A Miller; N Caughey, M Healy; L Peat, C Moloney, A Egan; E Anthony, M L Reilly; C Cooney, C Griffin, S Spence. Reps: Z Grattage, R O'Reilly, F Reidy, C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick, L Muldoon, N Stapleton, C McLaughlin.

Italy Women - M Furlan; M Magatti, M G Cioffi, M Sillari, S Stefan; B Rigoni, S Barattin (capt); E Cucchiella, L Cammarano, M Bettoni; E Pillotti, A Trevisan; M Este, I Locatelli, E Giordano. Reps: L Gai, G Giacomoli, D Nicoletti, V Ruzza, I Arrighetti, S Folli, P Zangirolami, V Madia.

Irish Independent

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