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Tierney Reflects On Second Place Finish For Ireland Women

Tierney Reflects On Second Place Finish For Ireland Women

After seeing his side’s Grand Slam hopes ended by England at Donnybrook on Friday, Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney admitted that the massive effort produced in the opening 50 minutes of their Six Nations decider eventually took its toll.

Just five points separated the teams at that stage of the match but when England replacement prop Laura Keates claimed the second try, Tom Tierney felt the visitors showed why they are favourites for the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup in Dublin and Belfast.

“I suppose that first 50 minutes, we were defending for most of it. It just took its toll on us, and unfortunately when they got that second try, the shackles were off with them and they showed how good they are. We were chasing shadows for a bit of that second half, but credit due to the girls,” said Tierney.

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“We knew we were going to be up against a hugely physical English team, that can play both types of game. A kicking game and a running game. They’re definitely going to be the favourites for the World Cup.”

Having gone close to breaking through the English defence in the latter stages of the first half, there was a sense that the game was there for the taking. If Ireland were to get themselves within reach of the Championship title, Tierney believed they need to score first after half-time and acknowledged that they had chances to do so in the third quarter.

“When you go in just one score down, and you’re confident enough that if you get the first 10 minutes right in the second half, and get a score – which was key – it could possibly change the course of the game.

“We did get an opportunity (from a maul) but unfortunately we didn’t take it. Obviously England showed their class then for the last 30 minutes. It was a very, very tough game. Physically, the girls are beaten up inside (in the dressing room). That English team is very, very impressive.”

Although England’s final quarter flourish left all of 27 points (34-7) between the sides, there were hugely positive aspects to Ireland’s performance. There were pros and cons for Tierney from the final round of the Championship, but ultimately, he has a desire for the team to be more accurate when the World Cup comes around in August.

“What we always do, we don’t runaway with ourselves when we win, or we don’t get too down when we lose. There was certain aspects of that game, when we look back at the video, we’ll be happy with, and other areas then we’ll definitely have to work on. Because, again, if we are to be competitive in a World Cup, we’re going to have to meet teams like England. We have to be more accurate than we were today.”

With four wins out of five, Ireland ended up second in this season’s Women’s Six Nations, an improvement on last year’s third place finish. They clocked up the same number of victories as their 2015 trophy-winning campaign, and Tierney is pleased overall with the way they have played this spring.

“Yeah, same record as two years ago when we won it. We knew this year with the way England were shaping up, that if we were to win the Championship, it had to be a Grand Slam. Overall, we’re pleased with aspects of it, and then there’s always going to be work-ons. We’re happy enough,” he added.