Monday 19 February 2018

Irish 'bruised' as size of job facing Griggs is laid bare

France women 24 Ireland women 0

Ireland centre Alison Miller on the charge against France in Toulouse. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland centre Alison Miller on the charge against France in Toulouse. Photo: Getty Images
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

This is a transitional period for the Ireland women's team, and the manner in which France ruthlessly exposed their deficiencies in this Six Nations opener highlighted just how much work is needed before they have any hope of dining at the top table again.

The 24-0 scoreline told its own story but in truth, it might well have been a lot worse as Ireland were miles off the pace in almost every aspect.

Ireland's Sene Naoupu sets off with the ball. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland's Sene Naoupu sets off with the ball. Photo: Getty Images

Defensively naive, the attacking game-plan barely fired, while the set-piece faltered against a bruising French pack.

This is a French side going through their own changes but their basics were far better than Ireland's.

It was a night to forget from start to finish, but Ireland will take some sort of comfort from the fact that their next three games are at home, starting with Italy on Sunday.

This was a performance that was as poor as what we saw at the World Cup last year. Adam Griggs (pictured) has a big task on his hands.

France's Caroline Boujard passes the ball. Photo: Getty Images
France's Caroline Boujard passes the ball. Photo: Getty Images

Captain Ciara Griffin worked tirelessly and got little reward for it, while Lindsay Peat stopped what looked like a certain try early on with an incredible last-ditch tackle.

A serious injury to Ciara Cooney, who was stretchered off, compounded a torrid night in Toulouse.

"Very sore, battered and bruised," hooker Cliodhna Moloney reflected.

"France were very physical in attack and defence. They were much more physical than us and more clinical, especially once they got inside our 22 - they capitalised on whatever chances they had and unfortunately we didn't.

French's Pauline Bourdon launches a pass. Photo: Getty Images
French's Pauline Bourdon launches a pass. Photo: Getty Images

"There are some exciting prospects out there for us, and we just need to get together over the next couple of days, recover well, review France and move on towards Italy.

"There are a lot of work-ons but there is a chance to make things right next weekend so we're going to go for a big win at home in Donnybrook."

Ireland trailed 17-0 at the break and after that, there was never any hope of a comeback; instead, the only question that remained was how long it would take the hosts to wrap up the bonus point.

Improved

To their credit, Ireland improved in the second half, and no-one could fault their bravery, but the fourth try arrived eight minutes from time when Jade Le Pesq crossed for her second to go with earlier scores from Cyrielle Banet and Jessy Trémoulière, who also kicked two conversions.

Ireland's Ailsa Hughes catches the ball in a line-out. Photo: Getty Images
Ireland's Ailsa Hughes catches the ball in a line-out. Photo: Getty Images

"Our kicking and defence (must improve), our ball receipt and how we can counter attack from that. It needs a lot of work," Moloney added.

"And I suppose our lineout - we lost a lot of our possession from that and that led to them gaining the ball back and getting penalties.

"We didn't really help ourselves in that regard.

"We need to do our own individual bits to try and get everything right. We need to nullify everything that Italy can throw at us in Donnybrook."

France - J Trémoulière; C Boujard (M Ménager 46), J Le Pesq, C Boudaud, C Banet (E Coudert 72); P Bourdon, Y Rivoalen (G Vernier 59); L Arricastre (D Traore 54), A Sochat (G Mignot 50), J Duval (P Carricaburu 50); C Ferer (A Forlani54), S N'Diaye; M Mayns, G Hermet (capt), R Ménager (C Diallo 59).

Ireland - K Flood (M Coyne 75); M Williams, C McLaughlin, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Briggs (N Caughey 75), A Hughes (M Healy 57); L Peat (L Feely 75), C Moloney, F Reidy (L Lyons 50); C Cooney (C O'Connor 57), O Fitzsimons (N Fryday 45); A Caplice (P Fitzpatrick 45), C Molloy, C Griffin (capt).

REF - I Tempest (England)

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport