When people think of Kazakhstan they might think of the 9th largest country in the world, that their main language is Kazakh or maybe some unfortunate ‘Borat’ moment, but Saturday 28th Aug 2010 will always be a day that I look back on fondly, Ireland v Kazakhstan, my first time pulling on the Green Jersey in the WRWC 2010, my first international start and my first try for my country.
Making our way to the pitch I couldn’t help but smile, cheers and encouragement were coming from the crowd, Australian, English, New Zealanders it didn’t matter what nationality they were they were cheering for us. Walking onto the pitch lining up for the anthems I took a look around at my surroundings, then up and down the line at the players I was taking the field with, a surreal moment in my life and one I wanted to capture in my memory for years to come.
Before I knew it, the whistle was being blown and they were kicking into us, any rugby player knows that they want to get their hands on the ball as soon as they can in a match to settle the nerves and relax into the pace of the game. Luckily for me I didn’t have to wait too long as a call was made from a mid-field scrum that I knew would be coming out our way, just like training the move was ran, I suddenly had my hands on the ball and all the nerves, frustration and indecision that had been building were gone!
Notching up four tries (Briggs, Neville, Beamish, Brennan) in the first half helped to dispel any unwanted nerves but there was still an element of frustration that was lingering. Kazakhstan had learnt from their mistakes in the English game and were fanning across the pitch at a faster rate to cut down options for our game play, their spontaneous style of play and unforced errors by ourselves were also limiting our progression in the game.
The 2nd half had just begun and we had attacked into their 22, we had stretched their defence and and their was space over in my corner, as the ball made it’s way over towards me, numerous things were going through my head, hands up, hold my depth, hold my width, if I get the ball just leg it!! Thankfully that’s what I did, and ran in a try in the bottom left hand corner. A great feeling, and as Niamh Briggs pointed out in true GAA style I celebrated with a clasped fist and a signal of ‘yessss’ (die for me) 🙂
Two further tries (Neville, O’Loughlin) left the result 37-3. A great win though slightly tinged with disappointment through missing out on the semi finals on point difference. But the journey doesn’t end there, 5th/6th place is still in our sights, the last World Cup saw Ireland finish up in 8th place which determines your world ranking, so a position higher than that will show our true progression over four years.
Wednesday will see us take on our ‘old friends’ U.S.A, who are out to prove a point apparently. Well as it happens we still have a few points to prove ourselves which I’m sure will make for a very fast, physical and entertaining game. The World Cup 2010 is nowhere near over for the Irish, this is were it will start getting interesting.
Big congrats to scrum half Louise Beamish who had a fantastic game marked by a try in the first half, her first try in 9 years service in the green jersey… 🙂
For a full match report click on the link below…