Sunday 30 April 2017

Tierney praises Canadian quality after 'very tough day at the office'

Ireland 7 Canada 48

Ciara Cooney is tackled by Laura Russell and Daleaka Menin of Canada. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Ciara Cooney is tackled by Laura Russell and Daleaka Menin of Canada. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Daire Walsh

Following a heavy defeat for his side at the UCD Bowl on Saturday, Ireland head coach Tom Tierney hailed Canada as the one of the favourites for the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup.

Francois Ratier's impressive outfit ran in seven tries throughout the course of this November Series contest, but despite acknowledging that it was a tough day at the office, Tierney is aware of Ireland's need to test themselves against quality opposition.

Ireland's Anna Caplice gets tackled by Magali Harvey. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Ireland's Anna Caplice gets tackled by Magali Harvey. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

"Very tough day at the office, but at the same time, that's exactly what we were looking for. Obviously not from a scoreline point of view, but that's what we're looking for. )Canada are very, very good," Tierney remarked.

"They are absolutely going to be one of the favourites in the World Cup in nine months' time. It's great to actually have a taste of exactly what it's all about at that level, instead of finding out at the wrong time. Which would be in the World Cup, and that will be too late."

Six days on from their narrow loss to England at the same venue, Tierney handed international debuts to Nichola Fryday and UL Bohemians flanker Anna Caplice.

However, it was Canada who enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, as lock LoToya Blackwood broke the deadlock with a well-worked seventh-minute try.

Canada's Emily Belchos of Canada is tackled by Niamh Kavanagh. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Canada's Emily Belchos of Canada is tackled by Niamh Kavanagh. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Indeed, in addition to five points from the boot of inside centre Andrea Burk, converted five-pointers from full-back Jullianne Zussman and Karen Paquin helped the visitors to establish a commanding 24-0 interval cushion.

A seven-point salvo by out-half Nikki Caughey offered Ireland a glimmer of hope after the restart, but Canada re-affirmed their superiority with a breakaway Emily Belchos try.

With former Dublin Ladies GAA star Lindsay Peat consigned to the sin-bin in the 57th-minute, Ireland leaked further scores to Kayla Mack and Magali Harvey, before the rampant Canadians completed the rout with a second Zussman try late on.

Ireland will return to UCD on Sunday for their final game of 2017 against New Zealand, and Tierney is confident his squad of players will be able to bounce back.

"We'll never be defined by one performance or anything like that. We'll dust ourselves off. The girls are disappointed inside, but know where (they went wrong). We'll knuckle down, and hopefully put in a big performance against New Zealand next week, and hopefully finish the series on a high," Tierney added.

"At the moment, we've got our 30-player squad, so everyone who has been fit to be selected has played so far in the two games. It'll be a combination of the selections for the last two games that'll line out for New Zealand."

Ireland - M Coyne (J Shiels 33); N Kavanagh, N Fowley (C McLaughlin 42), S Naoupu, A Miller; N Caughey, M Healy (L Muldoon h-t); F Hayes (L Peat h-t), Z Grattage (L Lyons h-t), F Reidy (A Egan h-t); K Norris (E Anthony h-t), N Fryday; C Cooney, A Caplice (F Hayes 63 (L Lyons 67)), P Fitzpatrick (C Pearse 64).
Canada - J Zussman; E Alarie, A Tessier (B Waters 65), A Burk, M Harvey; E Belchos (M Higgs 55), C Guthrie (B Miller 65); C McEwen (O DeMerchant 70), L Russell (G Boag 70), D Menin (D Stamatakis 70); L Blackwood (T Beukeboom 50), K Mack; J Grusnick, K Paquin (B Mervin 61), K Russell.
Ref - M LeMatte (France)

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