Women’s Six Nations: France capitalised on chances unlike us, admits Moloney

Ireland have chance to make things right against Italy next weekend, says Leinster player

Leah Lyons with her team-mates at the end of the game which Ireland lost  24-0 to France on Saturday evening. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leah Lyons with her team-mates at the end of the game which Ireland lost 24-0 to France on Saturday evening. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

France 24 Ireland 0

The Ireland Women’s side began their 2018 Six Nations Championship campaign with a heavy defeat to France at Toulouse’s Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday.

Eye-catching tries from Cyrielle Banet, Jade Le Pesq (two) and Jessy Trémoulière comfortably secured a bonus-point victory for an impressive French outfit, and Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney admitted that their opponents were much more clinical on the night.

“It was very physical from France in attack and defence. They were probably much more physical than us and more clinical,” Moloney acknowledged.

“Once they got inside our 22, they capitalised on whatever chances they had and unfortunately we didn’t.”

This game represented the dawn of a new era for Ireland, following the retirement of several key players and the appointment of interim head coach Adam Griggs.

After fullback Trémoulière combined with Pauline Bourdon in the sixth minute, Montpellier winger Banet stepped inside from the right wing for a deadlock-breaking score.

With their opponents already dictating the state of play, Ireland needed to establish some territory of their own. The returning Niamh Briggs found touch with a brace of close-range penalties, before Les Bleus eventually claimed their second try on 25 minutes.

Superb effort

Bourdon’s crossfield ball was gathered by Caroline Boujard – who released Le Pesq for a superb effort underneath the posts.

Trémoulière supplied the bonuses on this occasion, before crossing over from a subsequent attack to give France a 17-0 interval lead. This left Ireland with a lot of ground to cover when the action resumed, and they lost Ciara Cooney to injury just before the hour mark.

With Ciara O’Connor indirectly replacing the Railway Union secondrow, there was a significant reshuffle in the Irish pack.

In Cooney’s absence, Ireland worked hard to halt France’s quest for a fourth try, before Le Pesq completed the scoring with a neat finish in the right corner on 72 minutes.

This places a significant dent in Ireland’s championship prospects, though Moloney sees next Sunday’s home encounter against Italy as an ideal opportunity to bounce back.

“There are some exciting prospects out there for us, and I think we just need to get together over the next couple of days. Recover well, rebuild, review from France and move on towards Italy.

“There’s a lot of work-ons, but there’s a chance to make things right next weekend. We’re going to go for a big win at home in Donnybrook,” the Leinster player added.

FRANCE: J Trémoulière; C Boujard, J Le Pesq, C Boudaud, C Banet; P Bourdon, Y Riovalen; L Arricastre, A Sochat, J Duval; C Ferer, S N’Diaye; M Mayans, G Hermet, R Ménager. Replacements: M Ménager for Boujard (46 mins), G Mignot for Sochat, P Carricaburu for Duval (both 50 mins), D Traore for Arricastre, A Forlani for Ferer (both 54 mins); G Venier for Riovalen, C Diallo for R Ménager (both 59 mins), E Coudert for Banet.

IRELAND: K Flood; M Williams, C McLaughlin, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C Moloney, F Reidy; C Cooney, O Fitzsimons; A Caplice, C Molloy, C Griffin. Replacements: N Fryday for Fitzsimons, P Fitzpatrick for Caplice (both 45 mins), L Lyons for Reidy (50 mins), C O’Connor for Cooney, M Healy for Hughes (both 57 mins), M Coyne for McLaughlin (66 mins), N Caughey for Briggs, L Feely for Peat (both 75 mins).

Referee: I Tempest (England).

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