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Ireland to restart against France

Thursday, 17th August, 2017 10:17am

One week down and it’s been a stuttering start to the World Cup campaign for the Irish women’s rugby team, but tonight’s fixture against France is an opportunity for the side to get back on track.

Despite winning their opening two pool fixtures against Australia and Japan, Ireland have been less than impressive, recording a narrow victory (19-17) over Australia last week; while they found themselves 14-0 down against Japan in the first half of their second pool game at the UCD Bowl on Sunday.

Ireland eventually pulled away 24-14 winners, thanks to tries from Alison Miller and and Paula Fitzpatrick, as well as a 100 per cent kicking return from Nora Stapleton; but manager Tom Tierney made no excuses for his side’s patchy play.

“We didn’t play well, and we won. It’s as simple as that. We’re not making any excuses about the performance, especially in that first half. Great resilience then by the girls in that second half to score 24 points, with a lot of pressure on and to be able to handle that,” said the Limerick man.

“We are mightily relieved obviously. A win is a win, but we’ve got a lot of work to do if we’re to be competitive against the French.”

France have been hugely impressive in their campaign so far, with a 72-14 win over Japan and a 48-0 win over Australia.

“We went into the match against the French in the Six Nations as complete underdogs,” Tierney noted.

“We pulled a performance out of the bag there. I think that’s well within our capabilities for Thursday.

“Favourites or underdogs, or anything like that, it’s not really about that over the next few days. It’s just about really having a mindset that we have to look after our jobs.

“The basics is the key. You look at any of the core skills. If you do them right, you look a very, very good team. If you don’t do them right, or if you turn over the ball, suddenly then it becomes a stop-start type game, and you’re giving the initiative and you’re giving the flow of pressure back to the opposition,” he added.

Dubliner Hannah Tyrrell started in the back-three against Japan after featuring at full-back in the Australia victory over Australia.

“We had a lot of handling errors at key moments of the game that really gave back the ball to Japan and put us on the back foot again.

“We just kept turning over the ball, which is very unlike us, and not the way we want to play. That game is done and dusted, though. We got the job done and we’re just looking ahead to France.”

• Kick-off between France and Ireland at the UCD Bowl is at 7.45pm on 17 August.

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