We continue our review of the season just gone with a look at Ireland Women’s performance in the 2017 World Cup, at the beginning of the season, and their performance in the Six Nations in February and March.

As there were significant changes in the coaching set up and in player availability between these two tournaments we’ll look at them separately..

World Cup results

Ireland Women played five games, winning two and losing three. The results are shown below.

2017 World Rugby Women’s World Cup
Round 1 Ireland Women 19 17 Australia Women
Round 2 Ireland Women 24 14 Japan Women
Round 3 France Women 21 5 Ireland Women
5th Place Semi Final Ireland Women 25 36 Australia Women
7th Place Final Ireland Women 17 27 Wales Women

 

Plenty has been written about the results in the intervening period, and as we were not invited to the party there is not much we are going to add.

World Cup minutes played

The management team used 29 players throughout, the breakdown of minutes played by Province is as follows.

Province Players Minutes Played % of Total
Connacht 5 842 14.1%
Exile 1 346 5.8%
Leinster 12 3133 52.4%
Munster 7 1300 21.7%
Ulster  4 359 6.0%
Total 29 5980 100.0%

Note: 20 minutes lost due to 2 yellow cards. 

Ulster’s 6% representation was made up by appearances from Larissa Muldoon, Ashleigh Baxter, Claire McLaughlin and Ilse van Staden.

The minutes played and the points scored by the individual players throughout the World Cup are shown below.

PLAYER STARTS MINUTES TRY CON PEN DDG PTS PROVINCE
Alison Millar 5 400 2 0 0 0 10 Connacht
Hannah Tyrell 5 400 0 1 0 0 2 Leinster
Sene Naoupu 5 346 0 0 0 0 0 Exile
Lindsay Peat 5 345 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Nora Stapleton 5 340 0 7 1 0 17 Leinster
Ciara Griffin 5 330 1 0 0 0 5 Munster
Paula Fitzpatrick 5 327 4 0 0 0 20 Leinster
Marie Louise Reilly 4 320 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Cliodhna Moloney 5 291 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Ailis Egan 5 261 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Nicole Cronin 4 260 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Claire Molloy 4 249 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Eimear Considine 3 240 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Sophie Spence 5 229 2 0 0 0 10 Leinster
Katie Fitzhenry 5 189 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Ciara Cooney 3 177 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Ashleigh Baxter 4 150 0 0 0 0 0 Ulster
Jenny Murphy 3 146 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Larissa Muldoon 4 140 1 0 0 0 5 Ulster
Louise Galvin 3 136 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Leah Lyons 4 135 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Heather O’Brien 3 128 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Jeamie Deacon 2 108 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Ciara O’Connor 4 105 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Anna Caplice 1 71 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Ruth O’Reilly 2 48 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Claire McLaughlin 1 45 0 0 0 0 0 Ulster
Mairead Coyne 1 40 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Ilse Van Staden 2 24 0 0 0 0 0 Ulster
Yellow Card 2 20 0 0 0 0 0
Total 107 6000 14 8 1 0 89

 

World Cup points scored

Ireland scored a total of 89 points throughout the tournament made up of 14 tries, 8 conversions (57% conversion rate) and 1 penalty.

Off the 14 tries, 10 (71%) were scored by forwards indicating the type of game that Ireland had to resort to. In the 2014 World Cup they scored 13 tries with 7 (53%) coming from the forwards and 6 from the backs.

The team had been touted as the best prepared ever but while they may have been substantially fitter it was obvious that their match play was way behind where it needed to be, the team having to work the ball up field through the forwards.

Perhaps most interesting is when the team scored, the points scored, for and against, by quarter is shown below.

All but seven points were scored either in the first or last quarter with the vast bulk scored in the final quarter indicating plenty of fitness and drive from the players. Unfortunately,  in three of the five matches, these points were too late to make any difference to the outcome of the game.

The bulk of the damage done was in the second quarter though, with the points against scored by different teams, the spread is more even across the quarters.

With a new squad and new management team announced ahead of the 2018 Six Nations it’s interesting to see if these scoring patterns changed throughout that tournament so lets have a look at the stats for that tournament.

2018 Six Nations results

As always, five games were played in the Six Nations with Ireland winning 2 and losing three. This is their lowest return in this competition since 2011.

2018 Women’s Six Nations
Round 1 France Women 24 0 Ireland Women
Round 2 Ireland Women 21 8 Italy Women
Round 3 Ireland Women 35 12 Wales Women
Round 4 Ireland Women 12 15 Scotland Women
Round 5 England Women 33 11 Ireland Women

 

On the face of it not much appeared to have changed, they were comfortably beaten by France before pulling away in the last quarter against Italy and a young Wales. However, the loss to Scotland was a major upset and England were just a class above.

YOU CAN VIEW OUR IRELAND WOMEN SIX NATIONS GALLERIES BELOW

2018-02-11 Ireland Women 21 Itlay Women 8
2018-02-25 Ireland Women 35 Wales Women 12
2018-03-11 Ireland Women 12 Scotland Women 15
2018 -03-16 England Women 33 Ireland Women 11
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Six Nations minutes played

Ireland used 31 players during the Six Nations. The breakdown of minutes played by Province is shown below.

Province Players Minutes Played % of Total
Connacht 8 787 13.1%
Leinster 13 3388 56.6%
Munster 7 1499 25.0%
Ulster 3 316 5.3%
Total 31 5990 100.0%

Note: 10 minutes lost due to a yellow card. 

Seven of the World Cup Squad were unavailable for selection for the Six Nations, the squad seeing a total of 13 new players coming in and 11 in total (including the unavailable 7) not selected.

Despite the changes, Ulster’s representation continued to dwindle. The three players representing the province were Claire Mclaughlin, Ashleigh Baxter and Nikki Caughey. The influence of Leinster, despite losing to Munster in the intervening Interprovincial Series, continues to grow.

The minutes played and the points scored by the individual players throughout the Six Nations are shown below.

PLAYER STARTS MINUTES TRY CON PEN DG PTS PROVINCE
Ciara Griffin 5 400 2 0 0 0 10 Munster
Claire Molloy 5 400 3 0 0 0 15 Connacht
Sene Naoupu 5 391 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Megan Williams 5 368 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Lindsay Peat 5 357 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Paula Fitzpatrick 5 355 1 0 0 0 5 Leinster
Niamh Briggs 5 344 0 6 1 0 15 Munster
Kim Flood 5 332 0 2 0 0 4 Leinster
Katie Fitzhenry 4 320 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Cliodhna Moloney 5 319 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Ailsa Hughes 5 257 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Leah Lyons 5 257 1 0 0 0 5 Munster
Aoife McDermott 3 211 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Claire McLaughlin 3 207 0 0 0 0 0 Ulster
Hannah Tyrrell 3 180 1 0 1 0 8 Leinster
Orla Fitzsimons 3 153 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Fiona Reidy 5 143 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Anna Caplice 3 136 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Nicole Cronin 4 119 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Nichola Fryday 2 115 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Ciara O’Connor 4 105 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Ashleigh Baxter 2 104 0 0 0 0 0 Ulster
Louise Galvin 2 100 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Ciara Cooney 2 85 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Alison Miller 2 84 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Michelle Claffey 4 60 0 0 0 0 0 Leinster
Laura Feely 5 34 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Mary Healy 1 24 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Edel McMahon 2 16 0 0 0 0 0 Connacht
Mairead Coyne 1 9 0 0 0 0 0 Munster
Nikki Caughey 1 5 0 0 0 0 0 Ulster
Yellow card 1 10 0
Penalty Try 1 1 1 7
Totals 111 6000 11 9 2 0 79

 

Six Nations points scored

Ireland scored a total of 79 points throughout the tournament made up of 11 tries (including one penalty try), 9 conversions (82% conversion rate) and two penalties.

Ireland had to again rely on their forward power to score the tries with 8 (72%) coming from the pack and in truth there wasn’t a great change to Ireland’s tactics across both competitions.

However, there was a more even spread across the quarters for points scored though the bulk of the scoring was still in the final quarter.

Points conceded was also more evenly spread, though the second quarter continued to be the main danger period. There was also a substantial rise in points conceded during the final quarter.

On the whole there were some minor changes to the style of play but understandingly, given the amount of time the part time coaching staff had to work with the players, the overall outcome remained pretty much the same.

The unprecedented investment in coaching and management of the Women’s programme over the last four years appears to have developed a range of comparatively fitter players but the development of ball skills and match play does not seem to be progressing at the same rate as those of the main proponents of the Women’s game.

To finish off here’s the stats for all player’s used across both tournaments.

PLAYER STARTS MINUTES POINTS PROVINCE
Sene Naoupu 10 737 5 Leinster
Ciara Griffin 10 730 15 Munster
Lindsay Peat 10 702 5 Leinster
Paula Fitzpatrick 10 682 25 Leinster
Claire Molloy 9 649 15 Connacht
Cliodhna Moloney 10 610 5 Leinster
Hannah Tyrell 8 580 10 Leinster
Katie Fitzhenry 9 509 5 Leinster
Alison Millar 7 484 10 Connacht
Leah Lyons 9 392 5 Munster
Nicole Cronin 8 379 0 Munster
Megan Williams 5 368 5 Leinster
Niamh Briggs 5 344 15 Munster
Nora Stapleton 5 340 17 Leinster
Kim Flood 5 332 4 Leinster
Marie Louise Reilly 4 320 0 Leinster
Ciara Cooney 5 262 0 Leinster
Ailis Egan 5 261 5 Leinster
Ailsa Hughes 5 257 0 Leinster
Ashleigh Baxter 6 254 0 Ulster
Claire McLaughlin 4 252 0 Ulster
Eimear Considine 3 240 0 Munster
Louise Galvin 5 236 0 Munster
Sophie Spence 5 229 10 Leinster
Aoife McDermott 3 211 0 Leinster
Ciara O’Connor 8 210 0 Connacht
Anna Caplice 4 207 0 Munster
Orla Fitzsimons 3 153 0 Leinster
Jenny Murphy 3 146 0 Leinster
Fiona Reidy 5 143 0 Munster
Larissa Muldoon 4 140 5 Ulster
Heather O’Brien 3 128 0 Munster
Nichola Fryday 2 115 0 Connacht
Jeamie Deacon 2 108 0 Leinster
Michelle Claffey 4 60 0 Leinster
Mairead Coyne 2 49 0 Connacht
Ruth O’Reilly 2 48 0 Connacht
Laura Feely 5 34 0 Connacht
Ilse Van Staden 2 24 0 Ulster
Mary Healy 1 24 0 Connacht
Edel McMahon 2 16 0 Connacht
Nikki Caughey 1 5 0 Ulster
Total 218 11970 161

 

#SUFTUM