‘We’re not called the fighting Irish for no reason so we intend to bring that against France’ – Dorothy Wall

Dorothy Wall during a Ireland Women's Rugby media conference. Photo: Sportsfile

Sinéad Kissane

Ireland flanker Dorothy Wall has vowed that the team will bring a fighting spirit for their second game of the Women’s Six Nations.

Ireland play World Cup semi-finalists France in Musgrave Park on Saturday as they look to avoid their second defeat in a row in the tournament following last weekend’s bruising 31-5 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

Greg McWilliams team were overpowered by Wales up front particularly in the first half. It was an improved second half from Ireland and Wall believes they will pick up against France with how they finished against Wales.

“We know that they’re a big force but we’re not the fighting Irish for no reason so we truly intend to bring that,” Wall said after training today at the IRFU’s High Performance Centre.

“We actually had a very positive session this morning. We worked on our detail around the scrum and went at each other a good bit. There were some tired bodies but we really got into it this morning.

“Another thing would be our maul defence. So we were focussing on those two aspects massively this morning. We’ll be fairly tearing into each other this week. Aggression, contact, some stuff around set-piece that we’re all trying to nail this week.”

Last Saturday’s Six Nations opener was the first time the Ireland players played together since last August’s two-test tour of Japan.

While Wales had a 26-0 lead at half-time, Wall is taking encouragement from how they played in the second half when the teams scored a try apiece.

“We write our own narrative. And in terms of how we showed up in the second half is testament to what is in this team and how we react and how we hold ourselves. In terms of what you saw in the second half, that is very much how we’re going about things this week in the lead-up to France.

"We’re a very close group, we have each other’s backs, there’s no doubt about it. And in terms of that open conversation, that criticism, the taking feedback, that is on a whole other level this week for us. Very proud of us actually in terms of how we’re going about this week.”

Wall also backed 18-year-old Ulster prop Sadhbh McGrath, who made her Ireland debut, and how she worked through the issues at scrum-time.

“I know there was a lot of talk about her being 18 and however many kgs but she fixed that problem. She fixed that problem in the first half and she really stood up to it. It was a big challenge but I really thought she showed up when she had to. And then the second half, bringing Christy Haney on who’s an experienced scrummager. She locked it down. So I’ve nothing but good things to say about our front row in terms of how they reacted to what happened.

“Neve Jones was there to steady the ship the whole time. How they spoke to each other, how they problem-solved. We won some of the scrum bits then in the end so it was positive in that sense because obviously we weren’t happy with how it went at the start but in terms of how we turned it around, it was positive.”