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Tierney: Lessons From Defeat Will Bring Us Forward

Tierney: Lessons From Defeat Will Bring Us Forward

Following the Ireland Women’s heavy defeat in the second of three November Series games, head coach Tom Tierney identified Canada as big contenders for next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup which will be held in Dublin and Belfast.

The well-drilled Canadians accumulated seven tries in a comprehensive 48-7 success at the UCD Bowl, and despite acknowledging that it was a tough day at the office for his charges, Tom Tierney believes it is important to be playing teams of Canada’s calibre ahead of a busy 2017.

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“Very tough day at the office, but at the same time, that’s exactly what we were looking for. Obviously not from a scoreline point of view, but that’s what we’re looking for,” said the former Ireland scrum half.

“Canada are very, very good. They are absolutely going to be one of the favourites in the World Cup in nine months’ time. It’s great to actually have a taste of exactly what it’s all about at that level, instead of finding out at the wrong time. Which would be in the World Cup, and that will be too late.”

Just six days on from their narrow 12-10 loss to England at the same venue, there were wholesale changes to Ireland’s starting line-up for their meeting with the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup runners-up. Tierney accepted that making so many alterations was always going to be a risk, but still felt his players showed plenty of resolve in the face of adversity.

“Again, obviously with the ten changes that we put in, that was a risk. We knew that going in, but when matches like that happen, it’s about the character that they show. Especially when you’re on the back foot, when you’re under pressure, see who steps up to the plate.

“A lot of the girls there, while they were on the back foot, and they were under the pump, they showed a lot of good stuff. That’ll bring them forward, which is great.”

Indeed, Tullamore lock Nichola Fryday and UL Bohemians flanker Anna Caplice made their international debuts in the Irish pack, and Tierney was delighted with the way they performed in testing circumstances.

“I thought they were excellent. Nichola Fryday in the second row showed some very, very good moments along with Anna Caplice, so I’m delighted with the two of them. It was a real ‘backs to the wall’ kind of performance. They were thrown into the deep end, but sometimes that’s the best way to be thrown in at. They did very, very well.

“They really enjoyed the experience, obviously the scoreline is not the best, but that’s international rugby I suppose. It’s hard, and it was very, very hard today. Arguably the best team that I’ve ever seen in the Women’s game perform. That’s how good Canada were today.”

With two consecutive defeats in the 2016 November Series, Ireland will be eager to return to winning ways next Sunday against New Zealand (kick-off 2pm). Of course, they famously defeated the Black Ferns in the pool stages of the World Cup two years ago.

Yet, while stating that he is hopeful of ending the series on a high, Tierney stresses that the priority for his squad is to get their performance up to the standard required.

“There’s always pressure to produce results, but at the same time, it’s just about the performance. We try to get across to the girls that if we do our work and we do our business, that the results will, as the cliche says, they’ll look after themselves. There’s always going to be pressure, but we’ll try to take that pressure off the girls to really just focus on one game at a time.

“As I say, we’re not going to be defined by one game, or one November Series. This is a huge learning for us, we’ve never played Canada before outside of a World Cup, we’ve never played New Zealand before outside of a World Cup.

“To get that opportunity, with so many young players, to get that experience, as opposed to just playing Six Nations teams, is worth its wait in gold,” he added.

Ireland Women v New Zealand Women tickets are available to buy on www.ticketmaster.ie/womensrugbyPrices: Adults €;10 (seating) and €;5 (standing) and children free (must be booked with adult ticket).