Ireland Women ended up with a fourth place finish in the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup after losing to France 18 – 25 in the third place play off on Sunday afternoon in Stade Jean Bouin, Paris.

Niamh Briggs opened the scoring with a converted try on the sixth minute before France responded in kind seven minutes later through Gaelle Mignot and Sandrine Agricole to tie the game at 7 – 7.

Briggs pushed Ireland back in front with a 27th minute penalty but the home side hit back with a Jessy Tremouliere try out wide before a classy individual effort from Grace Davitt put Ireland back in front at 15 -12 as the teams went into the break.

France dominated the second half as the Green Machine ran out of puff; a Briggs penalty being their only response as France ran in a try from Elodie Guiglion and Tremouliere knocked over the hosts second penalty for France to lead 18 – 20 at the start of the final quarter.

6TryNiamh BriggsIRE5 – 0
7ConNiamh BriggsIRE7 – 0
13TryGaelle MignotFRA7 – 5
14ConSandrine AgricoleFRA7 – 7
27PenNiamh BriggsIRE10 – 7
31TryJessy TremouliereFRA10 – 12
40TryGrace DavittIRE15 – 12
47TryElodie GuiglionFRA15 – 17
61PenNiamh BriggsIRE18 – 17
66PenJessy TremouliereFRA18 – 20
80TryElodie GuiglionFRA18 – 25

A mentally and physically exhausted Ireland side pushed themselves to try and find a final flourish but it was the French who found the extra gear in front of their home crowd and they wrapped up the game with a last minute try from Elodie Guiglion to take the final score to France 25  Ireland 19.

Having followed this group of players through the highs and lows of the last five seasons I would like to put on record my thanks to all concerned for an incredible journey from a team who have continually beaten the odds. Given the lack of resources and backing that this team has received, compared to the other top four sides, this has been a truly remarkable achievement.

My thanks to Philip Doyle, Peter Bracken, Greg McWilliams, Gemma Crowley and Andy Weir plus all the players who have always made me feel most welcome when I’ve had the pleasure of visiting their camp.

The Front Row Union Player of the Match goes to Niamh Briggs who contributed 13 points in this match to take her championship tally to 40. A fantastic effort from Briggs who along with 12 others was on the pitch for a gruelling five hours throughout the tournament. A truly World Class player who thoroughly deserves her place at the top table with the world’s elite.

Ireland: Fiona Coghlan, Gillian Bourke, Ailis Egan, Sophie Spence, Marie Louise Reilly, Siobhan Fleming, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick, Tania Rosser, Nora Stapleton, Alison Miller, Jenny Murphy, Grace Davitt, Ashleigh Baxter, Niamh Briggs. Replacements: Sharon Lynch, Kerri Ann Craddock, Heather O’Brien, Laura Guest, Larissa Muldoon, Jackie Shiels, Hannah Casey.

France: Lise Arricastre, Gaelle Mignot, Christelle Chobet, Sandra Rabier, Assa Koita, Koumiba Djossouvi, Laetitia Grand, Safi N’Diaye, Jennifer Troncy, Sandrine Agricole, Elodie Guiglion, Marjorie Mayans, Elodie Poublan, Shannon Izar, Jessy Tremouliere. Replacements: Laetitia Salles, Elodie Portaries, Manon Andre, Coumba Diallo, Caroline Ladagnous, Christelle Le Duff, Yanna Rivoalen


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