An early onslaught from last season’s Women’s Six Nations Champions shut Scotland out the game before the half, and in spite of a gritty and resilient second-half performance in Dublin tonight, it was another defeat for the Scots.
Playing in front of a packed ground at Ashbourne RFC, the intimidating crowd were never going to make it easy for the visiting Scotland side. From the outset, Ireland showed why they are defending champions, setting the tempo of the game using their searing pace in the wide-channels as well as dominating in the contact.
Despite the high score-line, the true grit and determination of the Scottish team to fight back and play some excellent rugby in the second-half is something to build on. Some great defence in key areas stopped the Irish score-line escalating after 60 minutes. In addition to this, Scotland had great go-forward ball for long periods of the second-half, stringing together good phase-ball and exhibiting good shape and a fluid attacking style.
Scotland Women assistant coach Derek O’Riordan, said: “It was tough tonight, but we can take positives from the game and build-on them for rest of the campaign.
“When we settled into our game and put phases together, we looked good and really showed what we can do. In the last 20 minutes, we looked dangerous and managed to control our own set-piece which gave us a good base to work from.
“All credit to Ireland, they came out flying and were cohesive as a unit, something which we didn’t quite match up to.
“Our key focus’ going forward is to be more accurate in the contact, manage our game and to be clinical in taking the opportunities we create.”
Within the first 20 minutes, Scotland were down as many points, the scoreline sitting at 0-22, Ireland already having secured a try-bonus point. Irish winger, Alison Miller, had displayed her brilliance in attack having scored two of the tries, both times displaying electric pace and sharp feet.
Scotland were unlucky not to suppress a strong Ireland attack at times with some great hits going in, notably Katy Green and Steph Johnston on the scramble defence.
Ireland managed to add another two tries before half-time, the teams going in at the whistle with the scores lying at 0-32.
The home side continued where they had left off as they marched out for the second-half. In the thirteen minutes after the break, Ireland had scored another four tries breaking the half-century mark.
Yet for the rest of the game, Scotland dominated, the substitutes making a huge impact come the closing quarter. Ireland stole another try against the grain to bring the final score to 0-59 in favour of the home side.
Looking positively at the game, four players gained their first Scotland cap in tonight’s match, making a huge impact on the pitch and staking their claim for further appearances which bodes well for the future of the side.
“Hats off to the girls who made their debut on such a tough night, they all made a huge contribution to the team effort.
“Debs McCormack had an outstanding first game and Lisa Robertson made a remarkable difference at scrum-time which gave us a solid platform to work off.”
Overall a disappointing night, yet If Scotland can carry their late form into next Sunday’s game against England, they need not be over-awed.
15. Stephanie Johnston (Worcester)
14. Katy Green (Darlington Mowden Park)
13. Annabel Sergeant (Richmond)
12. Gillian Inglis (Melrose)
11. Megan Gaffney (Hillhead-Jordanhill)
10. Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers)
9. Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers)
1.Tracy Balmer (Worcester) CAPTAIN
2. Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers)
3. Lindsay Smith (Hillhead-Jordanhill)
4. Jade Konkel (Hillhead-Jordanhill)
5. Deborah McCormack (Richmond)
6. Tess Forsberg (Richmond)
7. Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
8. Lindsay Wheeler (Saracens)
Replacements (all used):
16. Nikki McLeod (Stirling County)
17. Lisa Robertson (Murrayfield Wanderers)
18. Heather Lockhart (Hillhead-Jordanhill)
19. Emma Wassel (Murrayfield Wanderers)
20. Anna Stodter (Loughborough University)
21. Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars)
22. Tanya Griffiths (RHC Cougars)
23. Laura Steven (Murrayfield Wanderers)
Ireland team: Jackie Shiels; Hannah Casey, Lynne Cantwell, Jenny Murphy, Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Amy Davis; Fiona Coghlan (captain), Stacey-Lea Kennedy, Ailis Egan, Sophie Spence, Marie-Louise Reilly, Siobhan Fleming, Claire Molloy and Heather O’Brien.
Replacements (all used) : Gill Bourke, Fiona Hayes, Kerri-Ann Craddock, Orla Fitzsimmons, Paula Fitzpatrick, Larissa Muldoon, Grace Davitt and Niamh Briggs.
|Italy Women||0||v||24||England Women|
|Wales Women||25||v||0||Scotland Women|
|France Women||19||v||15||Ireland Women|
|Scotland Women||0||v||69||France Women|
|Ireland Women||39||v||0||Italy Women|