Tuesday 24 April 2018

Tierney hails Ireland's 'ugly' win on difficult opening night

Tom Tierney Photo: Sportsfile
Tom Tierney Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland coached Tom Tierney hailed the character of his side after they got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a gritty 19-17 win over Australia last night.

Tierney's side had to dig deep to see off a late rally but they held on for a precious victory ahead of their meeting with Japan back at the UCD Bowl on Sunday.

Tries from Larissa Muldoon, Ciara Griffin and Sophie Spence ensured that the hosts ran out winners but Tierney warned that plenty of improvements must be made for Japan and France next week. France defeated Japan 72-14 in last night's other pool game.

"There was a lot of tension before the game and during it as you can see from the key areas where we let ourselves down at critical times but to get the win is all that matters," the relieved head coach said. "To be honest, in the pool stages, I don't care how we win as long as we do win. It wasn't pretty.

"It wasn't clinical as we would have wanted it to be but we got that Australia game out of the way and it's on to Japan now.

"Any tournament in any sport, it's the team that wins ugly in the pool stages who usually come good in the end.

"It's the opposite for the teams who are brilliant in the pool stages, they come unstuck in the second part of the competition. Hopefully that will be the case, but we don't expect it to be as erratic.

"There were always going to be natural nerves out there tonight. We took that into account and I think we will be better for it. First game like that, you're going into the unknown but thankfully we got through it."

Tierney also praised the impact of his bench after Spence and Griffin both came on to score crucial second-half tries.

"We were very, very pleased. We had a starting XV that we felt was going to a really good job, especially up until half-time," he added.

"But when we do call players on we expect an impact and we got that which was critical at the time because it got us into the lead at 19-10 but unfortunately then we let them back into it. That was a key turning point."

Irish Independent

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