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Neill: We Can Build On Our Second Half Performance

Jane Neill 21/6/2024

Galwegians forward Jane Neill will have the honour of leading out the Ireland Under-20 Women's team for their first Summer Series match against England in Parma ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Ireland Women’s U-20 captain Jane Neill is keen for her side to show they can improve on their performance against England in the opening round of the Six Nations Women’s Summer Series.

Trailing 26-5 to England at half-time in Parma, Ireland stepped up their performance dramatically in the second half, eventually going down 33-10.

After struggling for field position in the first 40 minutes, they were able to build pressure against the English, with Hannah Clarke getting over for a well-deserved try, with Chisom Ugwueru having done so in the first half.

Six Nations Women's Summer Series England vs Ireland

Ireland’s Chisom Ugwueru celebrates with Hannah Clarke and Lucia Linn after scoring her teams first try at the Six Nations Women’s Summer Series between England and Ireland in Parma, Italy Thursday, July 4th, 2024 (Photo by Ben Brady / Inpho)

For second row Neill, it was the perfect response after a difficult opening 40 minutes.

She said: “We’re feeling ok. We went in at half-time and we asked the girls to lift it and absolutely did. We came back in the second half, we didn’t give them an inch, we fought for everything. So I’m really optimistic from when we go again.

“It’s always frustrating (not to score during a long spell of pressure in the second half) but I think the girls performed really well and there were some great pieces of work there, things that we have worked hard at in training. I’m excited to go again.”

In the inaugural edition of the Women’s Summer Series, Ireland took on an England side that hit the ground running, with a try inside two minutes.

But while they came out on the wrong side of the scoreboard, Neill is confident the team can kick on, with hosts Italy next up before a final game against Scotland.

She added: “This tournament can do massive amounts. Something like this can drive you on, playing at such an intense and high level will only make you better. It will put us in situations where we would never be in before and make us strive. It’s amazing.

“We need to stay connected a little bit more and bring the fight from the start. We need to work on our execution.”

Ireland face Italy at 9 a.m. Irish time on Tuesday morning. You can watch live on Six Nations You Tube and Irish Rugby Youtube here