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We must retain focus: Coghlan

IRISH women's rugby captain, Fiona Coghlan, is determined to seize the day as her team gear up to face England in tomorrow's historic World Cup semi-final against England in Paris (5.0).

The Clontarf girl knows Ireland face a ruthless English side but knows the girls in green also have a potent mix of talent, self-belief and momentum.

The countries last clashed in the Six Nations when England triumphed 17-10 and Coghlan will be hoping for a reversal of fortunes tomorrow.


"In the Six Nations game we lacked concentration just before half-time and just after half-time as well. England are a team that will punish you, and if they see any lapse in concentration they will take you," said Coghlan.

"We've spoken about consistency in games and playing for the full time the ball is in play, and not losing concentration.

"It is a hard thing to do, but that is something we've been working on and we've seen it come through, particularly in the New Zealand game.

"When the pressure came on in the second half, we actually grew, and were more consistent as the second half went on."

Ireland's defensive game is set to face its sternest test yet but it is one Coghlan feels they are ready for as they proved in their terrific victory over the reigning holders New Zealand.

"There was a calmness about the pitch, because everyone knew what we were about and what we had to do," she recalls.

"That's definitely something we will need to bring into this game, again: a similar kind of defensive performance, because I think that's the thing that won the New Zealand game.

"Everything we spoke about was how we were going to beat New Zealand," she says.

"There was a confidence in the squad," she stressed.

Ireland finished strongly against New Zealand but following ten changes to the starting team failed to fully fire in the opening half of their concluding pool game against Kazakhstan before running out comfortable 40-5 winners.

"It was combinations that hadn't played together before, so they took a bit of time," she says, also highlighting Ireland's work at the breakdown and presentation of the ball at rucks as areas that need to improve," added Coghlan,

"Going in against England, and their back row, that is obviously something we're going to have to tidy up," she concluded.