The Ireland Women's side scored four second half tries to run out comfortable 25-10 winners against Spain in their opening 6 Nations game at Donnybrook on Saturday.
WOMEN'S 6 NATIONS: Saturday, February 4
IRELAND 25 SPAIN 10, Donnybrook
Scorers: Ireland: Tries: Rosser, Brennan 2, Fleming, Belton
Spain: Try: Penalty try; Con: Etxeguibel Alberdi; Pen: Etxeguibel Alberdi
The win marked the Women's side's first every home victory in the history of the 6 Nations tourament.
Coached by Philip Doyle, the Irish led 5-3 at half-time. Spanish fly half Ines Etxeguibel Alberdi cracked over a 17th-minute penalty, but lively Blackrock and Leinster scrum half Tania Rosser replied with a try, created by a sweet backline move, eight minutes later.
Winger Suzanne Fleming started the attack for Rosser's try, offloading for flanker Rachel Boyd to bulldoze through and send the New Zealand-born Rosser haring over on the right flank for her second try in ten days. She also scored in the defeat by the USA at Thomond Park on January 25.
With Spanish centre Elena Roca Moro in the sin bin, Ireland moved 15-3 clear by the 49th-minute. Flanker Orla Brennan broke through for her first tries for her country, scoring twice in three minutes.
First, a Belton break set up Ireland for a lineout, five metres out, and a concerted drive saw Brennan lurch over. Full-back Joanne O'Sullivan was unfortunate to see her conversion attempt go wide, and she also saw her kick for the extras of Brennan's second try tail off.
Rosser, Boyd and Belton all combined to put Brennan over. Spain then lost number 8 Angelina Masdeu Anguera to a yellow card and the visitors leaked a 58th-minute try to Fleming in the right corner, after another Belton break had scattered the Spanish defence.
Belton deservedly got in on the scoring act on 70 minutes when a Rosser attack put her half-back partner over in the left corner, helping Doyle's charges to gain a full revenge for last year's 19-17 defeat in Madrid.
The Irish, who face France in Montauban, Toulouse next Saturday (kick-off 7.30pm), leaked a late penalty try, but nothing could take away from a brilliant performance from the girls in green. Navan club woman Brennan, a teacher by profession, took the player of the match award.
IRELAND: Joanne O'Sullivan (Lichfield); Nuala Ni Chadhain (Galwegians), Lynne Cantwell (Trojans), Patrique Kelly (UL Bohemians), Suzanne Fleming (Cooke); Sarah Jane Belton (UL Bohemians) (capt), Tania Rosser (Blackrock); Fiona Coughlan (UL Bohemians) (vice-capt), Jean Lonergan (Shannon), Marie Barrett (Highfield), Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians), Germaine Healy (Blackrock), Orla Brennan (Blackrock), Rachel Boyd (Cooke), Joy Neville (Shannon).
Replacements used: Gillian McAllister (Cooke) for Barrett (12 mins), Grace Davitt (Blackrock) for Ni Chadhain (68), Laura Guest (Clonakilty) for Coghlan, Yvonne Nolan (Blackrock) for Lonergan, Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians) for Rosser (all 73), Amanda Greensmith (Shannon) for O'Sullivan (78), Sinead Ryan (Navan) for Brennan (79).
SPAIN: Monserrat Poza Fernandez; Mariona Vila Torrents, Agurtzane Obregozo Bereau, Elena Roca Moro, Berta Garcia; Ines Etxeguibel Alberdi, Isabel Rodriguez Bergareche; Rocio Garcia Eiras, Aroa Gonzalez de la Concepcion, Nerea Otxoa de Aspuru, Aitziber Porras Conde, Maria Teresa Delgado Martinez, Barbara Pla, Rosana Estanyol Mar, Angelina Masdeu Anguera.
Replacements used: Lia Bailan for Delgado Martinez, Rocio Ramirez Arregui for Roca Moro, Francisca Moreno for Rodriguez Bergareche (all 57 mins), Maria del Carmen Sequedo Gallego for Otxoa (67), Maria del Mar Perez Martinez for Porras (69). Not used: Laura Gomez, Concepcion Ramos Tallada.
Referee: D Jones (Wales)
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