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I’m So Proud Of The Girls – Doyle

I’m So Proud Of The Girls – Doyle

Ireland Women’s head coach Philip Doyle beamed with pride as his side’s history-making win over New Zealand gradually sunk in for all those present in Marcoussis yesterday.

“To be honest I am speechless. I am so proud of the girls. So proud. They’ve worked incredibly hard and there has always been this performance in us,” admitted Philip Doyle in his post-match interview.

“Things didn’t go perfectly and we have a lot to work on, that’s for sure. A few things malfunctioned but we kept to the task and we got the result.”

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The two tries-to-one success over the Black Ferns is a serious breakthrough for Ireland at this level, especially as they now have a real opportunity to qualify for the World Cup semi-finals for the first time.

The wins over the USA and New Zealand have Ireland topping Pool B by two points, with Kazakhstan, who have coughed up try-scoring bonus points in both of their pool games to date, their round 3 opponents on Saturday.

Doyle oversaw last year’s memorable Grand Slam triumph and he dismissed the idea that defeating the world’s top-ranked side was a bigger achievement than the 2013 Six Nations clean sweep.

“No, we’ve just won a game in the World Cup. We’ve now got one foot inside a semi-final of a World Cup, and that is as far as it is,” he said.

“We’ve achieved nothing until the final whistle of the tournament. It’s just a group game in a World Cup – though a very big group game – but no, we’ve got a lot to go yet.”

The man known as ‘Goose’ coached Ireland at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, earning eighth and seventh place finishes respectively, but the landscape of Irish Women’s rugby has changed a huge amount since then.

Now, in the space of about 16 months, this Fiona Coghlan-led Irish squad has won a first ever Triple Crown and Grand Slam, played at the Aviva Stadium and Twickenham, beaten England, France and New Zealand and had three of their Six Nations games broadcast live on RTÉ Television.

Amid increasing levels of public and media interest, TG4 are showing all three of Ireland’s pool games at the World Cup live from France as well as the semi-finals and final of the tournament.

That leads to more pressure on the girls to perform and get results, but Doyle says his players’ unwavering self-belief helped them pull of arguably the biggest shock in Women’s Test rugby history.

“You need self-belief and this team has the self-belief that we can do something special and we just proved it out there. Was it a perfect game of rugby? No. Is there such a thing?

“We had to win, and the girls just applied themselves – as they did with the USA game – exceptionally well. Tactically I thought they were superb. Thank you to Greg McWilliams, our attack coach, really a lot of tribute has to go to Greg.

“What really made the difference today was our defence, and when we wanted to attack we attacked in a certain way.”

Asked about Ireland’s approach to the game, McWilliams told Newstalk: “The key thing was to concentrate on ourselves and the process that we had coming into the game.

“Obviously when I, as a coach, watch videos after a game, I look at it firstly at how New Zealand would defend (against) us particularly as an attack coach and then try to counteract that. Tactically it went pretty well.

“It was a very proud moment for all of the management team, there’s eleven of us out here and we get on very well. We work very hard. Anybody who coaches any sport it’s great when your players go out and perform so well.

“These are a super group of women. We’re just very proud to be Irish, very proud of the 26 players and the management team and very proud of all the support from home.

“The support is so humbling, we just can’t wait to get out there and play again because we feel now that Ireland are right behind us and that’s a really important thing.”

Doyle concluded: “We analyse teams nearly to death sometimes, but we did notice in previous games that New Zealand can crack under pressure. When you are in their face they do get a bit sloppy.

“Now we look to the next game, Kazakhstan. Step three in our little plan. That is all we are looking at.”