Jump to main content


Doyle Reflects On Ireland’s Successful Start

Doyle Reflects On Ireland’s Successful Start

Ireland head coach Philip Doyle was delighted that his side closed out a 23-17 win over the USA in their opening game at the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

First half tries from Ailis Egan and Niamh Briggs helped Ireland into a 20-10 lead at half-time in today’s crucial Pool B clash in Marcoussis.  

A powerful USA side, two places above Ireland in the world rankings, came storming back with an early second half try.

Google Ad Manager – 300×250 – In Article

But full-back Briggs kicked the final score with 20 minutes left to finish with a personal haul of 18 points.

After the game, Doyle revealed that he had employed a simple game-plan to combat their first opponents. “Territory, get their back-three to turn,” he underlined.

“We identified weaknesses there and also to attack their lineout. They changed their lineout actually but we still put them under significant pressure there.

“Our own lineout faltered at the start, which I was shocked about. It was pure nerves. Absolute nerves and everybody just got really tight.

“I just got the message on to relax and then eventually it started clicking and you saw what we could do through our maul.

“It was maul them from anywhere because we knew they would come in from the sides. They weren’t disciplined enough, and we’d get penalties and turn them into territory.”

Doyle, who leaves his post after this tournament, said it took time for Ireland to adapt to the impressive physicality of the US team.

“They were getting over the gain-line way too much. I think their stats in the first half, they had 18 possesssions, 15 went straight down the nine channel and they made 13 gain-lines, which wasn’t in our game-plan.”

In the end though, the girls in green – with Sophie Spence and Claire Molloy putting in huge shifts up front – recovered to see out the game relatively comfortably.

“America pride themselves on suffocating. Their defence is a suffocating defence so it’s all line speed, all in your face. Hard hits, push you backwards, put you under pressure,” added the Irish coach.

“And in a funny way, we suffocated them towards the end of the game, in the last 20-25 minutes, through territory.”

Doyle admitted that a lapse in concentration at the start of the second half – like the one that preceded American flanker Lynelle Kugler’s try – can ‘never happen again’, especially since New Zealand are Ireland’s next opponents on Tuesday.

The defending World Cup champions ran in 13 tries as they beat Kazakhstan 79-5 in the pool’s other game.

“I watched the first half an hour of their game. Look, they are what they are.

“They’re an extremely impressive side throughout but they have their weaknesses and we’ll find them.”