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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

We’ve Got To Build Ourselves Back Up For Wales – Tierney

We’ve Got To Build Ourselves Back Up For Wales – Tierney

Following their disappointing 36-24 defeat in yesterday’s WRWC 2017 5th-8th place play-off, Ireland head coach Tom Tierney admitted that they could not get to grips with the attacking threat of Australia.

Ireland recorded a 19-17 victory over the Australians on the opening night of the tournament a fortnight ago, but their second meeting at Kingspan Stadium saw the Wallaroos gain revenge with a powerful five-try display. The reversal leaves the World Cup hosts licking their wounds ahead of a 7th-8th place play-off against Wales on Saturday. 

Paul Verrell’s side had Ireland on the back foot for long spells, with their strong-carrying front row and centres doing a lot of damage, and Tom Tierney felt the result was beyond his side by the hour mark.

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“We’re hugely disappointed. We got ourselves, early in the game, into a position where it was a 12-5 game (to us). Unfortunately from a defensive point of view, we took the back foot against the Australians, who again played exactly the way we felt they were going to play,” he admitted afterwards.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t counteract that, and when you couple that with multiple phases of defence, where you’re on the back foot, it just takes it out of you. In fairness to the Australians they scored and they put the game to bed with 20 minutes to go.”

As well as being under pressure in defence, Tierney acknowledged that Ireland again lacked accuracy with ball in hand, despite scoring four tries through Ailis Egan, Alison Miller, replacement Sophie Spence and Paula Fitzpatrick.

In general, the Limerick man believes that his squad have under-performed in this World Cup, but was quick to reiterate that they are not the first Irish side to do so on such a stage.

“We didn’t have the ball for as long as we would have liked, and then when you’re conceding yards every time there’s a ball carry, it makes life very, very difficult. That was the case today. Then when you get the ball back, we’re not as accurate as we could be. We make no bones about that, we make no excuses for that, and it just leads itself to a scoreline where it’s all doom and gloom.

“That’s the nature of sport. As I said in previous interviews, it’s not the first time Ireland has done poorly in a World Cup, and we’re making no bones about it, we’ve done poorly. Hopefully it will be the last, but you can’t envisage these things happening. We don’t plan for these things to happen, but it has happened now, so we have to deal with it.”

After the heartbreak of losing the Pool C decider to France at UCD last Thursday, Ireland were hoping to kick off the Belfast leg of the tournament on a high note. The first half tries from Egan and Miller suggested that the girls in green were ready to return to winning ways, but a determined Australia carved open an insurmountable lead with two converted tries and a penalty in the space of 14 second half minutes.

Closing tries from Spence and Fitzpatrick ensured that the hosts at least gained some late consolation, and with automatic qualification for the 2021 World Cup on the line against Wales at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2pm), Tierney emphasised how important it is for his team to claim seventh spot.

“We came into this game on the back of a very disappointing night on Thursday night. We tried to pull ourselves together. At times we did, but unfortunately we were on the back foot, and if you miss too many tackles, if you concede yards after tackles, it’s going to be a very long day,” conceded the former Ireland scrum half.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t execute today, and it is what it is now, and we’ve obviously got to take something from it. We’ve got to build ourselves back up. We’ve got to go again on Saturday. It’ll be the final game of this tournament for us. It’s a hugely important game – seventh versus eighth position and for automatic World Cup qualification, and we’ve a duty of care for the next group to come through that we get the seventh place.”

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