Ireland can start building again with win over Wales
Adam Griggs’ side showed good promise last year but have been unable to play since
Ireland’s Beibhinn Parsons during training ahead of the Women’s Six Nations clash with Wales. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
In a time of inclusivity and equal opportunity, rugby still has a long way to travel but Ireland under Adam Griggs have planted the seed of expectation.
They expect to beat a Welsh side that lost 53-0 to France by leaning on foundations laid over a year ago.
The bricks and mortar part of Ireland’s development begins now. The measured Kiwi coach builds upon a menacing pack, full of willing ball carriers directed by halfback duo Kathryn Dane and Hannah Tyrrell, who appear solid and adventurous in equal measure.
There is evidence to support this team’s evolution. A brilliant second try against Italy last October unveiled a clear pattern of play continually enhanced by Dorothy Wall guaranteeing front foot possession.
Tyrrell was everywhere. Dane fed whoever screamed loudest. Wall thundered onto ball with intimidating pace and ferocity. All the attack needed was some finishing touches. Some basic skills. Ciara Griffin and Lindsay Peat provided the offloads for Claire Molloy to twist over the line.
The try banished months of deep frustration as Ireland found their groove under Donnybrook lights. Not a single game of female rugby has been played anywhere on the island since. Nothing for six whole months.
Wales know precisely what to expect so Griggs must paint a strategy across the entire Arm’s Park canvass.
“Our back three players are so dangerous,” he said of Eimear Considine, Lauren Delany and 19-year-old Beibhinn Parsons. “We have to get the ball into their hands. We’ve been guilty of over-thinking things at times and I know people talk about heads-up rugby, and we can definitely give a framework, but then it is about letting your instincts take over and back yourself to play.”
Mistakes are guaranteed after such a long period of inactivity, but Eve Higgins’ debut at outside centre - a Sevens convert from Trevor Brennan country - might create enough scope for Parsons and Considine to run riot.
Whatever way it happens, this Irish team expects to win.
Ireland: Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/Munster); Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks), Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Blackrock College/Connacht); Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/Connacht); Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/ Munster), Claire Molloy (Wasps), Ciara Griffin (capt, UL Bohemian/Munster). Replacements: Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster), Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/Leinster), Laura Feely (Blackrock College/Connacht), Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/Ulster), Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/Leinster), Emily Lane (Blackrock College/Munster), Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster), Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/Munster, 4).
Wales: Robyn Wilkins (Gloucester-Hartbury); Lisa Neumann (Sale Sharks), Hannah Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury), Kerin Lake (Gloucester-Hartpury); Courtney Keight (Bristol Bears); Elinor Snowsill (Bristol Bears), Jess Roberts (Sale Sharks); Cara Hope (Gloucester-Hartpury), Kelsey Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury), Cerys Hales (Gloucester-Hartpury); Natalia John (Bristol Bears), Gwen Crabb (Gloucester-Hartpury); Georgia Evans (Saracens), Manon Johnes (Bristol Bears), Siwan Lillicrap (Bristol Bears, capt). Replacements: Molly Kelly (Sale Sharks), Caryl Thomas (Worcester Warriors), Donna Rose (Saracens), Teleri Wyn Davies (Sale Sharks), Bethan Dainton (Harlequins), Megan Davies (Exeter Chies), Niamh Terri (Exeter Chiefs), Caitlin Lewis (Cardiff Met).
Referee: Hollie Davidson (Scotland).
Verdict: Ireland win.