Monday 16 September 2019

Griggs rues breakdown malfunction in loss to USA

Ireland 10 USA 19

Kate Zackary is forced into touch by Irish duo Jeamie Deacon (left) and Claire Molloy during their international at Energia Park in Donnybrook. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Kate Zackary is forced into touch by Irish duo Jeamie Deacon (left) and Claire Molloy during their international at Energia Park in Donnybrook. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Daire Walsh

Ireland women's head coach Adam Griggs pinpointed a lack of cohesion around the breakdown as a key factor in his side's defeat to the USA at Energia Park yesterday.

Despite registering tries in each half through UL Bohemian wingers Laura Sheehan and Eimear Considine, the hosts came off second best to their Stateside counterparts.

"We base our game off trying to play with tempo and getting good, quick ball. The USA came out, we knew they were going to be physical. We spoke about being physical ourselves," Griggs remarked after the game.

"I think certainly around the breakdown, we didn't create the ball we wanted to actually use. Over the 80 minutes, it just wasn't up to scratch."

While Ireland's search for a November Test triumph continues, a little slice of history was created at the Donnybrook stadium. With just seven minutes remaining in the contest, 16-year-old back Beibhinn Parsons was introduced in place of full-back Lauren Delany.

Youngest

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Ireland head coach Adam Griggs. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

She became Ireland's youngest senior women's international as a result and Griggs believes the best is yet to come from the Ballinasloe teenager.

"Over the last two months, she's been able to experience a taste of senior women's rugby in our camps. We've seen there that she's well able to handle it. I know she's got a smile on her face from a personal side of things, even if the result didn't quite go our way. She's an exciting player to have moving forward."

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After early attacking momentum failed to yield a breakthrough score, Ireland subsequently fell behind on 13 minutes. Following a quick 'tap and go' by scrum-half Carly Waters, skipper Kate Zackary offloaded to Kimber Rozier for a superb USA try.

This was a significant setback for the hosts, who also lost Ciara Cooney to a suspected dislocated shoulder on 32 minutes. In her absence, Kaitlyn Broughton crossed for a second USA try.

Nicole Cronin of Ireland is tackled by Kate Zackary of USA. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Nicole Cronin of Ireland is tackled by Kate Zackary of USA. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was proving to be a frustrating opening period for Ireland, though Sheehan marked her own debut with an outstanding individual try off a Michelle Claffey pass. This helped to reduce their deficit to a more manageable seven points (12-5) at the break.

The visitors continued to create the greater attacking inroads on the resumption, however, and they were eventually rewarded with a third try on the hour mark. Meza Bizer applied the finishing touches to an extended move on the left-flank, before her midfield partner - Rozier - split the posts to leave 14 points between the teams.

In an attempt to address this balance, Ireland unloaded their replacements' bench inside the final-quarter. Parsons' introduction was greeted by a massive roar from the stands and she made an explosive break towards the line on 79 minutes.

The Ardscoil Mhuire student was held up just shy of the line, but Ireland's patience finally paid dividends in the shape of Considine's consolation effort on the stroke of full-time.

Ahead of a daunting encounter with England at Twickenham Stadium next Saturday, Griggs is hopeful his charges can bounce back.

"I just think we need to be more consistent with what we're doing. As I've mentioned already, we have to bring a bigger physicality. England aren't going to lie down at Twickenham. We're going to have to make sure we're really up for that," Griggs added.

Ireland - L Delany (B Parsons 73); E Considine, S Naoupu, M Claffey, L Sheehan; N Caughey (C McLaughlin 73), A Hughes (N Cronin 46); L Peat (L Feely 73), S Mimnagh (E Hooban 56), F Reidy (L Lyons 56); A McDermott, C Cooney (N Fryday 32); E McMahon (J Deacon 58), C Molloy, C Griffin.

USA - K Broughton; K Stockert, M Bizer, K Rozier, J Duncan; G Cantorna (M Hawkins 56), C Waters; C Benson, K Augustyn (T A'au 61), N James (A Nalbandian 69); S Bridges, K Sommer (J Taufa 61); R Johnson, K Zackary, J Gray-Matyas (A Washington 74).

Ref - R Mahoney (New Zealand)

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