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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

#WRWC2017 – The #BringIt Bulletin: Issue 2

#WRWC2017 – The #BringIt Bulletin: Issue 2

The build-up to the Women’s Rugby World Cup continues to gather pace. In this week’s #BringIt Bulletin, we hear about a dancing Doctor Molloy, look at the latest warm-up results, find out about a Canadian prop’s passion for American football and profile England’s centurion lock Tamara Taylor.

RUGBY STAR, GRAND SLAM WINNER, DOCTOR – BUT MOLLOY’S NO DANCER!: The deadly duo of Ailis Egan and Jenny Murphy branded their Ireland team-mate Claire Molloy ‘a terrible dancer’ when they spoke on the ‘Second Captains’ podcast about that famous 2014 World Cup win over then champions New Zealand.

With the backing of a home crowd to look forward to throughout next month’s tournament in Dublin and Belfast, Egan gave an insight into how inspiring the fans can be during games while also taking aim at Doctor Molloy’s dancing skills!

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Recalling that historic night in Marcoussis when Ireland beat the Black Ferns 17-14, the tighthead prop said: “In 2014, one of the New Zealand girls said that this is like a home fixture for you guys. The crowds were singing away, we felt that vibe and it just gives you that extra bit of oomph.

“Against New Zealand, I remember it was the first time we’d had a dominant scrum against them. We stood up and just before we were resetting, (Claire) Molloy, one of our flankers, was dancing, and she was dancing to the crowd’s singing. It was in the first half and I remember looking at her, and I was like, ‘we’re going to beat these girls’ – and it was purely from that buzz and that vibe. You wouldn’t usually do that, you wouldn’t be hearing the crowd and you wouldn’t be dancing along to the music – she’s a terrible dancer, by the way! It was just one of those days. It was going to go right.”

Tickets for the pool stages have already sold out and the UCD Bowl is sure to be humming with passion, colour and noise for Ireland’s Pool C clashes with Australia, Japan and France between August 9 and 17. Centre Murphy said that the Six Nations games against France and England a few months back gave them a taste of what’s to come.

“It’s such an added bonus to have the World Cup at home. When we played France and England at home in the Six Nations this year, the crowd and support that we got was absolutely immense. We’re lucky that we’ve got some really good fans,” she remarked.

Her housemate and good friend Egan added: “We need that buzz, we need that crowd support because there will be times where we’ll be digging so deep to empty the tanks and get those results. The Women’s World Cup is different to the men’s, every game is like a knockout fixture. You really have to win your group, pretty much you have to win every game – that’s how we got to the semi-final the last time.”

JAPAN SIGNAL THEIR INTENT WITH TEN-TRY THRASHING OF HONG KONG: This season’s Asian Women’s Championship is a two-legged affair and Japan continued their impressive WRWC warm-up form by hammering Hong Kong 58-0 in Odarawa last Saturday.

The Sakura 15s, who make the trip to King’s Park for the return match on Saturday (kick-off 6pm local time), are set to retain their Asian Championship title having ran in 10 tries against an overwhelmed Hong Kong side in the first meeting. Japan ran Ireland close in two trial games at UCD a month ago and will be looking to peak against the World Cup hosts in their Pool C encounter on Sunday, August 13.

Controlling the game from start to finish, with a dominant set piece and a pace and physicality the visitors struggled to cope with, Japan notched five tries in each half. Wingers Riho Kurogi and Enko Hirano, hooker and captain Seina Saito (2) and number 8 Sayaka Suzuki all touched down before the break.

Kurogi completed her brace a minute into the second half and there was also a try double from centre Iroha Nagata, either side of scores from fellow backs Keiko Kato and Hirano. Despite the runaway victory, Japan skipper Saito was not happy with her team’s overall efforts.

“Our performance today is not good enough if we really want to aim to reach the top eight at the World Cup. That’s all I can say about today’s game,” she insisted. “We have a week to go to the next one in Hong Kong, so we ‘ll fix our problems and show the accuracy of play needed at the level of top eight in our next match in Hong Kong.”

Meanwhile, European rivals Wales and Spain took each other on in a trial game in Cardiff last Saturday, with the hosts coming out on top – 26-21. The Welsh tallied up four tries, including three in a superb 10-minute spell in the second half, to give themselves a timely boost ahead of their August 9 World Cup opener against New Zealand.

SILVER LINING FOR CANADA’S ‘PROP IDOL’ OLIVIA: The 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup will be full of players who have excelled in one or two sports, or even multiple ones like our own Lindsay Peat. Fellow prop, Olivia DeMerchant, has had success with a different kind of oval ball.

The 25-times capped Canada front rower turned out for her country at last month’s IFAF Women’s World Championship which was held in Langley, British Columbia. It is an American football tournament which pits six countries against each other over the course of a week.

DeMerchant played running back for the Canada team and scored one touchdown. The tournament hosts lost 41-16 to the USA in the final. She became a dual international this year on the back of impressive performances for her native New Brunswick and the Capital Area Gladiators, with whom she has won Offensive All-Star and Offense Player of the Year awards.

The 26-year-old, who is renowned for her strong scrummaging in the union code, said: “Anytime I wear the maple leaf for either sport, it is an amazing feeling. Though playing on home soil is a feeling next to none, it’s great to have so many supporters cheering you on and it makes you proud to be Canadian.

“In preparation for the Rugby World Cup, football is another outlet for me. I’m able to work on ball-in-contact skills and footwork skills. Also, in terms of mental preparedness, playing with another team reminds me how much of a family we are and how much I do not want to lose another gold.”

This will be DeMerchant’s second WRWC after helping the Canucks finish as runners-up to England at the 2014 tournament in France. Francois Ratier’s squad will be front and centre at a special WRWC send-off reception hosted by Rugby Canada in Toronto on Tuesday, July 25. Tickets for the ‘Canadian Women – Tackling The World’ event can be purchased at http://events.rugbycanada.ca/.

TOURISM IRELAND AND AMBASSADORS HOST TEAM RECEPTIONS IN MADRID AND PARIS: Tourism Ireland in Spain, in conjunction with the Irish Embassy in Madrid, hosted a special send-off event for the Spain Women’s squad last Wednesday. The event, hosted by HE David Cooney, Irish Ambassador to Spain, was organised to wish the Spanish players and coaches well and to raise the profile of next month’s eagerly-awaited tournament.

In Paris, HE Geraldine Byrne Nason, Irish Ambassador to France, also hosted an event which was attended by the France Women’s players and coaches. Tourism Ireland have launched a new campaign to leverage the tourism benefits of the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Over the coming weeks, Tourism Ireland will be spreading the word about the tournament taking place on Irish soil, through its promotions in key rugby-loving countries, including Britain, Australia, New Zealand, France, Japan, Canada and the USA.

The organisation is urging rugby fans and potential visitors everywhere to come for the games and then stay for the craic – reminding them that, in Ireland, we love our rugby and we are prepared to be the perfect hosts for this year’s tournament in Dublin and Belfast. 

Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland’s Manager Southern Europe, said: “We’re delighted that the Women’s Rugby World Cup is taking place here next month. Our send-off events for the teams in Spain and France will help raise the profile of the tournament and the fact that it’s taking place in Dublin and Belfast next month.

Tourism Ireland is encouraging rugby fans and potential visitors in France, Spain and other rugby-loving countries to come and join in the electric atmosphere of Dublin and Belfast’s great sporting arenas and explore these beautiful cities as they enjoy the games. Our message is that the island of Ireland is a fantastic place to visit – where they’re guaranteed a wonderful experience and the warmest of welcomes.”

ONE TO WATCH – TAMARA TAYLOR (ENGLAND): Like her forward colleague Rocky Clark, Tamara Taylor has been there, done that and bought the T-shirt. The England second row is in her 13th year with the squad and determined to add a second Women’s World Cup title to the RFU trophy cabinet.

Taylor, who passed the 100-cap mark against Wales in February, is a vital cog in the English pack, getting through a lot of unseen work and making key contributions at set piece time and in open play. Look back at Danielle Waterman’s opening try from the 2014 World Cup final win over Canada and you will see Taylor involved twice in the build-up, including a brilliant dummy and perfectly-timed pass.

As well as possessing a clever rugby brain, the 35-year-old Exeter-born lock brings a physical edge to the forward exchanges, and is clearly revelling in her second row partnership with Harriet Millar-Mills. The pair had a big impact during the 2017 Grand Slam campaign, and it was no surprise to see Taylor win the RPA England Women’s Player of the Year award. This will be her fourth World Cup.

PRE-TOURNAMENT BUZZ: SHANNON PARRY (AUSTRALIA) – “I think for us, as leaders, it’s about making those critical decisions at critical moments to put the team in the best position and that’s what it’s going to come down to, it’s going to come down to a game of inches.

“It’s going to come to controlling that first 20 minutes (against Ireland), getting the crowd silent and if you silence the crowd, you’re going to go a long way to winning that game. For us it’ll be about staying composed, making the right decisions and taking those youngsters along with us as we go.

“We’ve got nothing to lose. We’re more than happy to go over there (to Ireland) with the underdog tag. It’s really important in that first game that we step forward and that can ignite our campaign.”

FIONA COGHLAN (WRWC 2017 AMBASSADOR) – “The first thing is selection. You are nervous waiting for whatever way the selection is done, sometimes it is an email, sometimes it is a phone call. I’m sure if the girls know that if it is an email by a certain point they will be sitting by their computers waiting for the email to come through.

“I know for the last World Cup our focus was just on the USA game because it was the first game and they were such a huge threat for us, so I think every team will take a different approach to it, depending on what game is up first. I don’t think anyone would look too far beyond that first game, though, because that is kind of dangerous territory to get into writing someone off.

“It is very tough, for the management as well to juggle their team because you obviously can’t play the same team every game, you have to use your squad and squad depth is really important so it’s a tough call for management to make on what players can play in what game and making sure you have players still fresh when it comes to the knockout stages, regardless of what position you are going for whether it be first, eighth or 12th.

“No matter where you are everyone is trying to improve their world ranking, everyone is trying to put their best foot forward and every game counts towards that and also every point counts because it could be points difference that determines if you get into the top four or the top eight. For every team, every game and every point is important.

“Sometimes I don’t think fans, when they are watching games, realise the importance of someone chasing down a try or something like that because every point counts. When it comes to the third game you know where teams stand and what they have to do to get to a certain point and it makes things really exciting.”

JO HULL (HONG KONG) – “We are bitterly disappointed (to lose 58-0 to Japan), but no one is feeling sorry for themselves in that locker room. We know we had a bad day at the office. We need to learn from that and also put it behind us now.

“Collectively, we need to look inward, and ask ourselves what we are going to do as a team, as the entire squad including the girls at home, for next week (the return game at home to Japan). That is my challenge to the players the management, to everyone.

“We have seven days before our next test, so we need to review and get back to work on what we need to get right. That will be a good preparation for us for the World Cup, where we are going to have to be able to contest back-to-back tough matches.

“We are a month out from our biggest ever challenge and the players are aware that today was an unacceptable performance when we are wearing the Hong Kong jersey, but it doesn’t change what we are doing, or our belief in ourselves, our training and what we are working on. This is another opportunity now for us to get better.”

WRWC SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENTS SO FAR: 5



Two New Caps Included In Australia’s WRWC 2017 Squad



France Confirm Squad For WRWC 2017



Defending Champions England Announce WRWC 2017 Squad



New Zealand Squad Revealed For WRWC 2017 Campaign



Canada Select Experienced Squad For WRWC 2017



For more on the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, visit the tournament website – www.rwcwomens.com. Buy your match tickets for #WRWC2017 now on www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wrwc2017 and www.ticketmaster.ie/wrwc2017.

#WRWC2017 – The #BringIt Bulletin: Issue 1