Miller’s loss a blow as Irish women prepare to host Wales
Experienced winger out for ‘six or nine months’ due to injury suffered against Italy
Ireland head coach Adam Griggs: “While I’m happy with what we are creating now, it is a matter of finishing and doing that under pressure.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Ireland v Wales, Donnybrook, Sunday 3pm – Live RTÉ
Ali Miller has been ruled out for “six to nine months” following surgery. The veteran winger, who suffered a bad injury in the 21-8 victory over Italy, is a significant loss to Ireland’s Six Nations aspirations.
Seemingly, the team are playing for third place.
“You got to look at the way France and England are going about it,” said Ireland coach Adam Griggs. “They are possibly on a different level to us at the moment,”
Ireland had a camp last weekend but only gathered Friday morning to prepare for this Sunday’s match.
“It’s very difficult,” Griggs conceded. “You just got to make sure the girls come into camp switched on. You can’t keep them on their feet too long with a game in two days...you can’t work on every little thing so it is about honing in on what we have done well and touching up some of the things we weren’t doing quite as well.”
Recent performances against France and Italy uncovered glaring skill defects, particularly basic catching and passing. Griggs coached Leinster this season so the New Zealander is well-placed to say if this is a deep rooted problem or related to the pressure that comes with international rugby.
“I’m certainly an advocate for getting more interprovincial games because I think that’s the level they need to be playing at week in week out,” Griggs responded (Currently, there are three interpro matches in December). “That’s where you get put under pressure with your skills.
“There is certainly a little bit of a knock on effect when you come into an international game.”
There certainly is.
“There is a different sort of pressure to a club or interprovincial game. We try to replicate game situations in training as much as we can.”
There’s the Catch 22; Ireland have one group session before facing Wales.
“But it’s a work in progress. We have only been together for a month or so and while I’m happy with what we are creating now, it is a matter of finishing and doing that under pressure.”
Is there any potential for the interpros to be expanded?
“I wouldn’t know. That’s not under my remit to do.”
Claire Molloy and Niamh Briggs both win their 60th caps with that experience crucial against a Welsh side that beat Scotland 18-17 but were beaten 52-0 by England.
IRELAND: K Flood; M Williams, K Fitzhenry, S Naoupu, C McLaughlin; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C O’Connor, L Lyons; O Fitzsimons, N Fryday; C Griffin (capt0, C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick. Replacements: C Moloney, L Feely, F Reidy, A McDermott, E McMahon, N Cronin, M Claffey, H Tyrrell.
WALES: L Neumann; H Bluck, K Lake, R De Filippo, J Kavanagh-Williams; E Snowsill, R Parker; C Thomas, C Philips (capt), A Evans; S Lillicrap, M Clay; A Butchers, B Lewis, S Harris. Replacements: K Jones, C Hope, M York, N John, N Elen Davies, J Knight, R Wilkins, H Jones.