Ireland’s opening game at the Women’s Rugby World Cup is now just two weeks away. Flanker Claire Molloy will be keeping us up to date with life in camp in the run-up to the tournament. Claire is a relative newcomer to the squad but has already notched up six caps. In her second blog, she discusses their final warm-up match against Wales.
Bridgend RFC in Wales brought us back to reality after our trip to the Aviva Stadium, a much humbler venue but with plenty of character in the South of Wales. After arriving early in the morning, we had plenty of time to relax and take full advantage of the free wifi while we waited until our warm-up.
We had perfect conditions for the game, similar to what we expect in London. The sun was shining and of course the sun cream was out in force for the fairer skinned of the squad!
I knew then it was going to be a day for the ‘lifter tan’ and my fellow jumpers and I, in the lineout, would have streaky tans to look forward to post World Cup.
We got a good start to the game, putting Wales under pressure from the kick-off. Tania Rosser scored the opener with a deft sidestep that saw her saunter through the home defence for a well-taken try. As the Welsh got into the game, after a period of pressure, they struck back with a maul off the lineout.
With the Welsh playing in green at the time and scoring off maul, I can imagine the crowd may have thought it was ourselves that had just equalised to the Welsh in black!
Wales picked up another try before the half-time whistle, quite softly off us. We fought back in the second half to lead 13-12 briefly, thanks to an Amy Davis try and Nora Stapleton penalty.
But after the concession of a penalty, the game ended 15-13 to Wales. The team in green marched off the pitch victorious and on an odd occasion, we were all envious.
After a training weekend and the trip to the Aviva Stadium, to finish on a loss was disappointing. However, the game against Wales showed us the progress we had made from our previous warm-up match against Scotland.
Immediately after the Welsh game, we were annoyed with ourselves to have the let the game get away and not perform as we would have liked, but taking a step away from the result there are many positives.
There were some fine performances as well, notably second row Kate O’Loughlin who showed flair with ball in hand while also doing all the second row work that can be taken for granted.
The game provided a chance for players to fight for their positions and I don’t envy the headache we may have given Goose (head coach Philip Doyle) and the management when it comes to selection.
The scrum, which we’ve worked on with guest coach Reggie Corrigan, has improved a lot since Scotland.
There are lots of positives to take from the loss and reasons to be hopeful that come the World Cup, the results will still favour the team in green.
Ireland kick off their Women’s Rugby World Cup campaign against hosts and tournament favourites England on Friday, August 20. You can follow Claire’s blog and the progress of the girls in green right here on IrishRugby.ie.
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