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Griggs Hails Influence Of Briggs And Molloy After Five-Try Triumph

Griggs Hails Influence Of Briggs And Molloy After Five-Try Triumph

Ireland Women’s head coach Adam Griggs reserved special praise for Niamh Briggs and Claire Molloy after the girls in green recorded a brilliant 35-12 bonus point win over Wales at Donnybrook yesterday.

Niamh Briggs has recovered from a series of injuries to play a key role at out-half in this year’s Women’s Six Nations Championship. She fired over three conversions in Ireland’s runaway five-try triumph over their Welsh counterparts.

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Reflecting on the many positives from the second home win of his coaching tenure, Adams Griggs said that the former captain Briggs’ experience is a valuable asset to the new-look squad. Briggs and two-try flanker Claire Molloy won their 60th Ireland caps yesterday.

“Niamh has got such a good rugby brain. I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s a coach in a few years. She sees the game very well and we have good conversations on how I’d like to see things done and how she has ideas as well. We bounce those off each other. You just can’t take away that experience she has,” said Griggs afterwards.

“She’s so good for the group and it’s about her realising that she doesn’t have to do everything. Certainly as a 10, she needs to steer us around the park and I think she’s only getting better and better at doing that. It’s a change from being a full-back, where you’re the one making all the impact to setting up and that’s her challenge at the moment.”

There were a number of influential performances throughout the Ireland team, but it was openside Molloy who came away with her second successive Aon player-of-the-match award. The Galway woman claimed tries in each half to round off another superb individual display, which was given the seal of approval by her coach.

“She (Molloy) is immense. She’s super. That last try, she’s running out there like a back-three player. She’s invaluable to us. Especially her work around the breakdown as well. Just delighted that she’s putting in those performances.”

Despite Ireland registering their second biggest ever win over Wales (behind 2012’s 36-0 victory), there were some nervy moments for the home side. Having led 14-0 at the break, Welsh forwards Amy Evans and Sioned Harries responded with early second half tries, one of which was converted by Elinor Snowsill.

However, a third try from busy centre Sene Naoupu – scored in the absence of sin-binned prop Lindsay Peat – helped the girls in green to settle again, but Griggs feels there is a lesson to take from their slow start to the second half.

“We were guilty of falling asleep after half-time a little bit. We’ve got to make sure we’re mentally switched on for the whole 80 minutes, but again I was really impressed with the subs that came on. They made a really big difference to us, and again the young ones, Edel McMahon and Laura Feely, Michelle Claffey, they came on and really changed the game for us as well.”

Ultimately, Ireland backed up their recent 21-8 win over Italy with a clinical performance which puts them five points clear of Wales. Lying third in the table and six points behind unbeaten leaders England and France ahead of Scotland’s visit to Dublin in a fortnight’s time, Griggs believes the squad are heading in the right direction.

“There was more progression from us. Every time we’re stepping on the pitch at the moment, we’re improving. That’s all you can ask for. Finally a few of those last passes stuck, which we’ve been working on. Pretty happy overall,” admitted the New Zealander.

“We’re improving every time and I said it to the ladies in this morning’s meeting…even from training last week into training on Friday, they’re making a step up each time. As a coach that’s all you can ask for. I think the players are starting to buy into it as well, so I’m delighted.”

Although there did not appear to be any injury concerns emerging from the game, second row Nichola Fryday was a late withdrawal from the starting XV before kick-off. It opened the door for Railway Union’s Aoife McDermott to make her international debut and Griggs was delighted with her contribution.

“Nichola Fryday, she fell ill, but I thought Aoife McDermott came in there and she was brilliant. She stood up and really showed why she’s in this squad. I’m sure she’ll take a lot of confidence from that going forward,” he added.