I’m really looking forward to this match, two of the form teams in women’s rugby with a large dose of near neighbour rivalry thrown in – it should be a cracker.
A few short years ago Ireland would have been massive underdogs in any fixture involving these two teams but a 25 – 0 Grand Slam win in 2013 and the recent defeat of New Zealand shows that Ireland are the team on the rise and going on current form I would make them marginal favourites in this encounter.
Both teams have only lost to each other and France in championship play over the last two seasons, England won the last encounter 17 – 10 in Twickenham back in February but it is the form of the teams in this tournament that gives me some confidence.
Nothing has surprised me about Ireland’s progress, I have, after all, predicted all three wins with amazing accuracy 🙂 and though England coasted through their first two matches, against Samoa and Spain, scoring 110 points and conceding only eight I did predict that they would struggle against an aggressive Canadian side. In fact I’d predicted a Canadian win and I’d thought that it would be Canada that would play Ireland and England would face France.
However, England held on to top spot in their pool, with a fortunate draw, and I’d guess that Philip Doyle and the rest of the coaching staff are happier to face the familiar England rather than comparatively unknown Canadians. (Incidentally I’d also predicted at the start of the tournament that Ireland and Canada were the teams to watch, and most likely to break into the top four 🙂 ).
Ireland have had a better run in to this match with tough, grind them out, wins against USA and New Zealand followed by a comparative break against Kazakhstan. Ireland know what their best side is, with the same team starting as the one that started against the Black Ferns, England on the other hand are still trying to find theirs.
It’ll be another close one but Ireland’s growing confidence and their superb game management should win the day – get yourselves ready for a France v Ireland final! #COYGIG.
|Niamh Briggs||15||Danielle Waterman|
|Ashleigh Baxter||14||Katherine Merchant|
|Lynne Cantwell||13||Emily Scarratt|
|Grace Davitt||12||Rachael Burford|
|Alison Miller||11||Kay Wilson|
|Nora Stapleton||10||Katy Mclean|
|Tania Rosser||9||La Toya Mason|
|Fiona Coghlan||1||Rochelle Clark|
|Gillian Bourke||2||Victoria Fleetwood|
|Ailis Egan||3||Sophie Hemming|
|Sophie Spence||4||Tamara Taylor|
|Marie Louise Reilly||5||Joanna McGilchrist|
|Paula Fitzpatrick||6||Alexandra Matthews|
|Claire Molloy||7||Margaret Alphonsi|
|Heather O’Brien||8||Sarah Hunter|
|Sharon Lynch||16||Emma Croker|
|Fiona Hayes||17||Laura Keates|
|Siobhan Fleming||18||Rebecca Essex|
|Laura Guest||19||Marlie Packer|
|Larissa Muldoon||20||Natasha Hunt|
|Jenny Murphy||21||Ceri Large|
|Hannah Casey||22||Claire Allan|