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Bemand Looking To Add Depth To Squad

Sam Monaghan, Aoife Wafer, Neve Jones, Clara Barrett, Maeve Óg O’Leary and Fiona Tuite 16/10/2023

Scott Bemand with the players in Dubai Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Charles Verghese

Scott Bemand has reiterated that the long term focus for Ireland is qualification for the next Rugby World Cup and to that end he sees building sqquad depth and experience as a key outcome from the WXV Tournament in Dubai.

Ireland ran up a record 109-0 win in their opening game of the tournament and face Colombia in Round 2 on Saturday afternoon, with the game live on RugbyPass.tv. Bemand announced the team on Thursday morning with a number of changes from last week.

Nicole Fowley will start at 10 this weekend having come off the bench last Saturday to replace Dannah O’Brien and Bemand was impressed with both players, “We’ve got some good fly-halves with us here. I’m really impressed with Dannah and really impressed with Nicole.

“Competition is an intrinsic part of what we are trying to become. A lot of our training, we compete. Hopefully that identity transfers to the pitch and you need that inter-positional competition. It drives people to higher levels so really happy with how Dannah is going and really happy with how she was supported last week by Nicole and this week we simply switch.

“Going into the Six Nations we are going to need more than one fly-half.  Going into a successful World Cup we need a couple of girls who can stand in and do a great job, whoever gets picked.

“I’m really happy with both their form and this week it’s Nicole’s chance to shine.”

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 13: Nicole Fowley of Ireland poses for a photograph with a fan following the WXV 3 match between Ireland and Kazakhstan at The Sevens Stadium on October 13, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Christopher Pike - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Nicole Fowley celebrates Ireland’s win at The Sevens Stadium on October 13, 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Christopher Pike – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Between O’Brien and Fowley they converted 12 of Ireland’s 17 tries, a return that Bemand was pleased to highlight, “That isn’t a hundred-point performance without 12 successful kicks, kicks from out wide, in the middle and we’ve got two players who have got high aptitude for goal-kicking.

“As we get to the business end of competitions or knock-out phases of World Cups, your goal-kicking is going to become incredibly important. I was really proud; it doesn’t often get enough [credit]. I see the girls working hard at it. They’ve elevated a very good performance to an outstanding performance.”

Bemand again stressed that the coaches and staff are in a process as they build and training and playing identity and he believes that focusing on that will lead to results, “We’ve had a preparation phase and time out here where we’re actually able to build a bit of a training identity and what have you.

“So I think we’re on plan. And we’re getting the girls up to speed with how we want to play, how we want to take it forward, being able to build some combinations, being able to blood some new caps. I think so far the wheels seem to be turning in the right direction.

“I think we understand why we’re here and obviously all roads ultimately lead to to qualification for the next World Cup. We know our our first controllable for that is the next Six Nations. So we’ve got a a bit of a chance here that we’ve got to grow a few things, get a few things in place which. So we’re we’re still on plan really with a lot of that.

“I think I think there’s a blended approach to growing the game. We’ve also got another new cap coming into the squad this week with Fiona (Tuite) and promoting Eimear (Corri) to get a first start. So there’s a, there’s a bit of a continuation where you want to build some consistency, but you need to, you need to sort of grow a little bit. So we’re on plan and coming out to Dubai affords a certain opportunity.

Watch Ireland v Colombia live on rugbypass.tv – click here.