Tuesday 24th Aug 2010 Ireland Vs USA, round two of Pool B, last bite of the cherry, a must win game if we wanted to stay in the running for top four finish as highest placed runner up.
Again on paper Ireland would have been going into this game as the underdog having never beaten the USA and being seeded four below them in the World Rankings, however after the English game we knew that stats didn’t matter, focus, work rate and belief would determine who came out on top in this battle!
The game began at a ferocious pace, with the Irish girls continually pressuring the American defence, this resulted in a line out just off the USA’s try line, strangely in the blustery conditions they opted for a long throw to the back which was cleverly intercepted by Joy Neville who ran through for the 1st try of the game, just reward for the No.8 who was celebrating her 50th Cap.
Excitement surged throughout the grounds, Ireland’s first try of the World Cup 2010, would it be a flash in the pan?
USA were strong in the scrum and were using this to their advantage, it was through some clinical pick and goes and constant pressure that they crashed over under the posts, with the try then being converted, suddenly Ireland were 7-5 down.
The tension was growing with both teams trading blow for blow, Ireland made some ground through line breaks but it wasn’t until the Irish full back made a blistering run to outpace the US captain and score in the top right hand corner that the girls in green could take a sigh of relief ending the first half 10-7.
Playing with the wind in the second half Ireland played intelligent rugby kicking to get themselves into good positions within the US’s 22.The continual pressure resulted in a line out, with the correct call being made to send Joy Neville over the try line for the second time that day.
This sent the Irish supporters into a frenzy and suddenly any chants of U. S. A. were being drowned out with “The Fields of Athenry” and “Go on you girls in Green”… Ireland now led 15-7.
Ireland looked determined and focused and hadn’t finished yet and through a moment of quick thinking in the US’s 22 Tania Rosser took an immediate tap and go to slide over for Ireland’s 4th try of the day securing that all important Bonus Point! With the try converted by Briggs, Ireland were now up 22-7.
Credit to the USA they still remained strong and direct throughout the remainder of the half with their efforts being rewarded in a well taken individual try from their winger. This score kept spectators on the edge of their seat until the final whistle but Ireland had done enough and 22-12 is how the game ended.
They had dusted off the frustration of the English match through a fantastic spectacle of rugby against the USA, a performance to be proud of.
Mistakes that had been made in the English game had been worked on and eradicated which resulted in superb elements of play.
Round 2 is now history and it’s Kazakhstan up next. Although it had been a great performance against the US there were still mistakes made in parts of play, so there is always something to work on. Like England and the USA, Kazakhstan are a totally different team that play a totally different style of rugby, so it’s back to the training field until 28th Aug.
The fight is still on for World Cup glory, whether Ireland have a part to play in that, we’ll just have to wait and see!
Big congratulations to Joy Neville on her 50th Cap, an inspiring performance to mark such an important day in her Rugby career so far… 🙂