In her latest blog, Ireland flanker Claire Molloy reflects on the squad’s progress at the Women’s Rugby World Cup, Wednesday’s play-off loss to the USA and warming up Riverdance style!
The scoreline on Saturday against Kazakhstan, 37-3 , would have been a satisfactory affair for most teams – bonus point achieved and no tries conceded, all-in-all a good result.
In our case we came off disappointed, we had a glimpse at a semi-final spot that morning and with our points difference not matching up to the impressive Australians, we finished sixth overall after the pool stages.
The pool stages were a bruising adventure with a casualty along the way. We were all extremely sad to hear the news that our scrum half Tania Rosser would not take any further part in the World Cup after a shoulder injury she received in the USA game.
As such a tight squad, having her leave the World Cup through injury is a sad blow, as we are not just a squad of players, we’re a great bunch of friends too.
Grace Davitt has come in to replace Tania, an experienced player who was involved in the Six Bations and to be honest since she’s been here it feels like she never left.
She is also a mean addition to the card games, a relative pro in comparison to some of the ‘floor two’ kids – I won’t name names to spare their blushes!
After the final pool games had ended and scores had been counted, it became apparent we would face the USA in our first play-off game to get a chance to play for fifth seeding on finals day.
Having beaten them 22-12 in Pool B we knew it would be a game that we would be up for. Even after the magic of Wednesday, we still felt we had something to prove, that it wasn’t just a flash in the pan.
The Smiliest Squad
As usual the craic has continued in the camp, we’ve taken to doing a bit of Irish dancing in our warm-ups and in our pool sessions. One of the nights, the Kiwis came to visit and we got the Riverdance treatment. We are already planning a ceile for Sunday night.
Of course like always there’s been a bit of mischief. I can thank Joy Neville for soaking my accreditation but sure it was only water – it’ll dry out.
The management have been involved as well, although Joy has been the ringleader. Even still, ‘Rolo’ (Brian Rowntree) and ‘Goose’ (Philip Doyle) did manage to catch her out only to regret it later when she got her revenge. I can’t confirm whether there were any water balloons or flour involved!
Enjoying ourselves at camp and enjoying the rugby have been the most important things to our squad and we’re proud to be the smiliest squad here.
Matchday four, USA take two. We went in hopeful of the same result but yesterday the USA were a whole lot better and we can hold our hands up and say we didn’t perform.
We weren’t ourselves out there, the smiley team was gone. We came in after the final whistle disappointed to have suffered such a large defeat (40-3). Watching the semi-finals after our game and some of the hits the Aussies put in on England, we could only rue the ones we missed ourselves.
Click here to view highlights from Wednesday’s play-off matches (coverage of the Ireland v USA game begins at 5 minutes, 13 seconds).
The Final Game
Spilt milk, we can’t dwell on yesterday, mistakes were made and we can only learn from them. We’ve drawn Scotland in the 7th-8th place play-off on Sunday.
We still have a chance to improve our ranking from the last World Cup – from eighth to seventh. We know the Scots will be up for it and after defeating us in a World Cup warm-up match, they will fancy their chances. But we’re a different outfit from the one that faced them in Lasswade RFC.
We’re hungry for a performance after yesterday, we want to win our final game and we want to do ourselves justice on the pitch from a very early kick-off of 11.15am – it will make the ceile later a lot more enjoyable!
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