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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Peat Thanks Fans For ‘Amazing’ Support At UCD

Peat Thanks Fans For ‘Amazing’ Support At UCD

Lindsay Peat had high praise for the offloading game deployed by France at the UCD Bowl on Thursday night, as Ireland’s quest for Women’s Rugby World Cup glory on home soil came to an end.

Ireland’s 13-10 victory over France in the Six Nations Championship at Donnybrook back in February raised hopes that the World Cup hosts could book their place in the last-four of the tournament, but after a stunning first half performance saw les Bleus open up a 21-point cushion, Tom Tierney’s side were left with too much of a mountain to climb.

It was a frustrating evening for Ireland in many respects, but with huge support behind them in the past couple of weeks, prop Lindsay Peat feels they can still bounce back strongly and aim to finish as high as possible in the 5th-8th place play-offs.

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Speaking after the 21-5 defeat in the Pool C decider at the UCD Bowl, Peat said: “In Donnybrook (during the Six Nations), we played our game. I think it was a wet ball, we played for territory very well. Our set piece was excellent that day.

“I thought our set piece was good today, but the French came up with something different. Obviously studied our set piece, but I thought their offloading game, they were excellent with ball in hand and they really opened us up in the first half.

“Fair play to them, but as I said, we’re very proud of our performance in the second half. We never say die. A huge thanks to the supporters, Dublin has been amazing. We are disappointed, we obviously want to be playing for a World Cup trophy, but now we’re going to try to get as high as we can (in the final rankings).”

While France have yet to reach the final of a Women’s World Cup, they have finished third on no less than five occasions – and also achieved a fourth place finish in 2010. Although New Zealand and reigning champions England impressed during their own pool campaigns in Dublin, les Bleues have certainly caught the eye with three exceptional displays against Japan, Australia and Ireland. Peat hopes they can go on to win the tournament from here.

“I really wish them the best of luck, and I really hope they do go on and win it. You don’t get stuck in it, but I’d love to see the game from an outsider looking in. I thought they were very hard to live with in the first half.

“As I said, we stuck it to them in the second half, and I thought we really gave them a game, which they will need going on. We’re very disappointed, but the French were very good on the night.”

After their struggles during the first half of the winner-takes-all clash, Ireland produced a much-improved second half performance – and this has been a common theme throughout the World Cup so far. Of the seven tries they tallied up in Pool C, six of them came during the closing 40 minutes of matches, with five of those scored by replacements.

Peat admitted that it has been frustrating that they have not been able to find consistent form over 80 minutes, adding: “We are a serious outfit, and that is what’s extremely disappointing. We knew coming into this competition that’s what we could offer. Unfortunately, the speed of the game and the speed that the French started, you’re trying to tackle but the ball’s gone. It’s just a game we couldn’t get to grips with it in the first half.

“In the second half, we really bound down, we forced errors, we imposed our scrum, we got a bit better in the lineout. I thought they were very good with how they got us in the lineout. As I said, I think they’re an excellent outfit.”

One of the best performers on the night for Ireland was young scrum half Nicole Cronin, who only made her 15s international debut against Japan last Sunday. Peat has been impressed with the way Cronin, who was previously attached to Peat’s own club Railway Union, has transitioned from the Ireland Sevens set-up and believes her confidence will continue to grow at this level.

“I’m a huge admirer of Nicole, I think she’s stunning. I couldn’t wait to get her unleashed in her first cap, and I think she’s been excellent in the last two games. She doesn’t shy away from anything, she gets us ball, and I have high praise for her no matter what.

“I think she’s grown in confidence, even today as the game was going on. Obviously, she’s come from being an excellent Sevens player, but she’s going to adapt. The more that confidence builds, the more she’s going to impose her game for us, and that’s only going to be great for the forwards,” said the Dubliner, who was Ireland’s top carrier against both Australia (15) and France (21).

Tickets for Ireland’s 5th-8th place play-off match against Australia – and the two WRWC semi-finals – at Kingspan Stadium on Tuesday are on sale on www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wrwc2017 and www.ticketmaster.ie/wrwc2017.