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Ireland eager to learn the ‘hard lessons’ and rebound against Italy

Ireland 15 France 56

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Ireland's Nichola Fryday, left, Claire Molloy, centre, and Claire McLaughlin. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland's Nichola Fryday, left, Claire Molloy, centre, and Claire McLaughlin. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland's Nichola Fryday, left, Claire Molloy, centre, and Claire McLaughlin. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Ireland were only coming to terms with the 84-point swing in their results when they arrived before the laptop to explain what had happened. The expressive joy of Cardiff was wiped away by a combination of French power, pace and their own errors.  

Their frustration was clearly evident, winning this match was always going to be a tall order but Adam Griggs’ side knew they’d played a major role in their own downfall.

“It’s game-management, recognising that although we want to play at a fast tempo, with pace we have to set our own tone,” Claire Molloy, Ireland’s most experienced player, said.

“We played into the French hands by trying to move the ball too quickly, by not being set. Our accuracy in the breakdown when we’re challenged by a world-class team let us down. We’re going to have to focus on set-piece and get back to that dominant place where we were with Wales and fix our own errors.

“I think the scoreline reflects on our errors, our turnover ball. Particularly in the first half, we gave them cheap ball with our ill-discipline, which gave them a more flattering scoreline.”

They can’t look at the existential picture and the gulf in resources between the teams, results are their currency and coughing up eight tries on home soil will not sit well.

“I must say, the gap wasn’t huge,” captain Ciara Griffin said of the way the game felt when she was at the coal-face. “If we tighten up a few areas, I’d like to see us go forward and we’ve next weekend and we can show that.

“We have to focus on finishing strong, every weekend is a cup final in this competition and next week is one of the most important cup finals.

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This field is required

“We’ve to prepare now and just put the performance we know we can next week.

“As a teacher myself, you learn from actions, you learn from doing and you learn in the field.

“My first time playing France over in France I learnt so much. We’ll learn from that, we’ll take things from this experience. You want to play world-class to be world-class and that’s what we’ve to do.

“We have to fix our errors, take the learnings.”

Ireland’s set-piece was poor, their defence passive at key moments, their decision-making rushed under pressure and their discipline was off.

Against opposition of this calibre, that’s a recipe for disaster and they paid the price over and over again.

“It is a different kettle of fish when you’ve got to operate under immense pressure and make decisions a lot quicker,” coach Griggs said.

“If you don’t make a decision you get found out very quickly and I think France was able to do us today.

“Playing this level of rugby against these players is good for us.”

Italy, who were comfortable enough winners over Scotland on Saturday and were highly competitive for 40 minutes against England, will be no pushovers.

With Italy on the list of countries on the mandatory hotel quarantine list, negotiations are ongoing to switch the game to Dublin.

As Molloy said, Italy are one of those teams Ireland will compete with for a World Cup spot this autumn and beating them to finish third would be a decent way to finish this short and sharp block of games.

“Context where context is, we want to peak for World Cup qualifiers,” Molloy said.

“This was us putting in a performance against a semi-professional side, we know there’s a gap there. That’s not something, as players, we can control but we have to learn from these experiences.

“The likes of Dorothy Wall, Beibhinn Parsons; they performed against a Welsh side the week before and were stars on the pitch. Now, we need them to perform against world-class opponents.

“That’s an invaluable experience. Next week is vital for us, as a team we have to regroup and relearn from this performance.

“I was having conversations with the senior team during the week about this being an opportunity for us to play against a world-class team, this is where we’re aiming for.

“Whatever the result, the learnings were going to be massive for the junior players in the squad and that’s what we have to take forward.

“They’ve had that hard lesson to learn from that performance, that they can deal with that pressure and bring it into next week’s match.”

IRELAND – E Considine; L Delany (AL Murphy-Crowe 49), E Higgins, S Naoupu, B Parsons; H Tyrrell (S Flood 54), K Dane (E Lane 54); L Peat (K O’Dwyer 59), C Moloney (E Hooban 59), L Djougang (L Feely 59); A McDermott (B Hogan 50), N Fryday; D Wall, C Griffin, C Molloy (H O’Connor 54).

FRANCE – E Boulard; C Boujard (G Vernier 67), C Neisen (M Peyronnet 63), J Ulutule, C Banet; C Drouin, L Sansus (P Bourdon 56); A Deshayes (D Traore 63), A Sochat (L Touye 67), R Bernadou (C Joyeaux 48); M Fall, S N’Diaye; M Mayans, E Gros (R Menager 49), G Hermet (C Diallo 56).

Ref – S Cox (RFU).


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