Lindsay Peat agrred that a more clinical second half performance was the key to Ireland’s 21-8 triumph over Italy in the Women’s Six Nations Championship on Sunday.
Adam Griggs’ side made the perfect start at Donnybrook with a 10th-minute try from Megan Williams, albeit that fellow winger Alison Miller had suffered a compound ankle fracture and fractured tibia and fibula in the opening exchanges. Williams only made her international debut in last weekend’s defeat to France.
The former Sevens international’s maiden 15s try, which was converted by Niamh Briggs, proved to be Ireland’s only score of a wind-affected first half, as a late Michela Sillari penalty made it 7-3 for half-time. Ireland started to get on top of the visitors again as the game wore on, though, and they deservedly recorded their first competitive success of 2018.
“We love playing in Donnybrook, so I have to say a big thank you to everyone who came out. It was a nice day, but it was still very cold. I’m sure people see me getting frustrated, because for all our endeavour and all our work, we weren’t really rewarding ourselves,” insisted Lindsay Peat, who was one of Ireland’s best performers on the day.
“That was probably the story of the first half, and in the second half we really started to turn the screw. Really dig deep into the areas that we were dominant. Getting into ball-carrying areas, and then starting to free up a bit more space for our backs to work with.”
Acknowledging Ireland’s handling errors and missed scoring opportunities, she added: “We’re a team in transition and I know that’s not an excuse. We’ve girls who came in from different sporting backgrounds, we’re not in academies. This Women’s game is evolving. We’re listening to what Adam’s giving us, we’re trying to play rugby and obviously you have to take care of the basics as well.
“Not an excuse, there’s some good things but obviously then, we’ve the work-ons for the rest of the Six Nations and beyond. We’d like to keep building as we go on.”
As England discovered when they made the journey to Reggio Emilia last week for their opening round clash, Italy can be a notoriously tough team to break down. They were on level terms with the Red Roses at the interval, and also remained in contention with more than hour played at Donnybrook.
Peat praised the Azzurre for the way they persisted with their challenge, which produced a late try from prop Eleonora Ricci after Ireland captain Ciara Griffin’s brace of tries had put the result beyond doubt.
“Fair play to the Italians, they’re very proud people and they stuck with it. They didn’t give up. No more probably than the boys yesterday, you’re disappointed. You want to a keep a perfect (result) with no tries let in, but look, we’ll work on it. We’ll go back to camp next week and we’ve lots to work on, and we’ll be ready for Wales the week after,” said the multi-talented loosehead, who is in the midst of her third Six Nations campaign.
Following consecutive weekends of competitive action, the new-look Ireland squad will be pleased to have time to reflect on the way the Championship has unfolded so far. The forthcoming camp will offer Peat and her team-mates an opportunity to iron out some of the issues that have been apparent in the opening two rounds.
“I think after France obviously people were disappointed, so you had to pick up. Initially you thought you’d a lot of errors, but after looking at the game, it was just basics. Narrow defence, not communicating.
“When you’ve a break in camp, you can sort of identify those problems and work through them, and then people can talk. But we got two really sharp sessions under our belt before we came here, so it will be good to step back, have a video review and work through it in camp,” added the Dubliner, whose efforts with Ireland yesterday have helped the team climb two places to third in the Six Nations table and also move above Italy into seventh spot in the World Rankings.