Ireland’s Women have completed the hat trick of Irish success in the RBS 6 Nations Tournament by beating Italy Women 5 – 26 in their match this afternoon in Rovigo, Italy.
A first half “wonder try” from Niamh Kavanagh and a penalty from Niamh Briggs put Ireland into a slender 5 – 8 lead at the break.
Briggs landed a second penalty early in the second half and tries from Gillian Bourke, Claire Molloy and Mairead Kelly was enough to see the Irish girls home with a degree of comfort.
You can read the full report over on Scrumqueens.
We caught up with Ulster’s Lauren Day and Stacey Lea Kennedy on their return to Ulster to get their thoughts on the match.
Lauren played at tight head from the start and the experienced prop, now in her third season with Ireland gave us her run down on the game and her thoughts on this weekends game against France:
The game was good, things started to come together. In the first half there were a few knock ons and a few handling errors but that was due to over enthusiasm and it was the first time we’d played together as a squad.
In the second half we came out really strong and the forwards came into the game well. Our maul was outstanding and that’s where our forwards try came from through Gillian Bourke. We started off at the half way line with a line out and mauled our way down to the 22 got another line out and mauled our way over the line.
Our other tries came from turnovers were we reacted quickly and executed well.
The Italian scrum was good. I felt that we were more dominant, I don’t think we were as good as we could be, but we were dominant.
The Italian crowd was fantastic and the atmosphere gave us a real lift. They had a red carpet leading us onto the pitch and a band and choir for the anthems, which gave me shivers, Ireland’s Call was brilliant. When we did the lap of honour after the game they gave us a fantastic reception, clapping and cheering us all the way round.
As a whole we know we are going to have to step up another level for the French game on Friday. We need to go into the game feeling confident, but we had a good win so if we are more clinical and reduce our error rates we should do well. Our set piece, scrums and line outs were good. We defend well and we attack well, it’s anyone’s game!
As replacement hooker Stacey had to wait until the 75th minute before making her début but it was certainly an experience she won’t forget as she tells us below:
It was absolutely fantastic. I got my first cap which I’m very very thankful for and I’m anxious for more. It was emotional and amazing at the same time, running out on the red carpet and as soon as Ireland’s call came on, as I said to you before, as soon as it came to the “Four Proud Provinces of Ireland” that was when it hit me and I was in tears.
To be fair I did watch most of the match but even just to be a part of the squad and watch the standard of the rest of the girls, and thinking that I’m finally here. It was unbelievable to be honest!
I remember thinking it was getting very close to full time and wondering if I was going to get on. Then with five minutes to go the coaches game me the nod. Just at that point Italy had knocked the ball on and it was an Ireland scrum and I thought are they weren’t going to let me on for the scrum, but they did.
Gillian Bourke came off and I went on ,so my first cap and straight into a scrum. I just concentrated on crouch, pause, engage and getting my hit right and once the ball was in it was “Drive, drive, drive”, and I got a good strike and got the ball away cleanly which settled me right into the game.
A couple of minutes later we got another scrum which also went well and the coaches were pleased with my work at the end of the game which was positive. I’m just looking forward to Friday night and hopefully I’ll get some more game time. Even if its only seven minutes instead of five, well that’s another two minutes on the pitch! I went to the Italian game with the attitude that any time I got on the pitch would be a bonus and it’ll be the same for the French.
After the match we had a bus journey to the post match reception and all the first cappers had to stand up and sing a song. As I’d cried all the way through the anthems I sang Ireland’s Call again! The girls are lovely, I’ve never felt so comfortable with a new group of girls. I think it’s good that the girls are very competitive, which is what you need, which makes you hungry for more. So far the whole experience has been really, really good.
Ireland Women’s next RBS Six Nations match is against France on Friday night against France at Ashbourne RFC. KO 7:30. Click here for more details.