Ireland Women have completed their second successive bonus point raid, Hannah Tyrrell nicking this one against Italy with the last play of the game. Interestingly enough, as with last weeks last minute steal by Jenny Murphy, it was Nora Stapleton that set this one up.
The women’s team now sit at the top of the RBS Women’s Six Nations with ten points out of ten, all the more impressive as they have yet to really hit their straps!
Italy Women (3) 3
PEN: Michela Sillari.
Ireland Women (3) 27
TRY: Leah Lyons, Sophie Spence, Paula Fitzpatrick, Hannah Tyrrell.
CON: Nora Stapleton (2).
PEN: Nora Stapleton.
The first half was a disappointing affair with Ireland huffing and puffing but seldom managing to string more than a couple of passes together. Italy were dogged and determined but lacked the execution to overly trouble the Irish defence.
Alison Miller, Claire Molloy and Lindsay Peat did shine in patches but the teams turned round with the scoreboard reading 3 – 3 thanks to penalties from Stapleton and her Italian counterpart Michela Sillari.
Ireland Women brought on Mary Healy at scrum half and Sophie Spence into the second row and their play did sharpen up somewhat. It did however take them ten minutes to breach the Italian defence, but once they did they closed out the game with two further tries quickly following.
Leah Lyons was the first to score, dotting the ball against the base of the post after a period of Irish pressure. Stapleton added the extras and Ireland led 3 – 10 after 51 minutes.
Next up an excellent break by Miller, taken on by Peat, was finished off by Spence as the Italian team began to struggle with the pace of the game. Stapleton converted to to push the score to 3 – 17.
Five minutes later Peat was again on hand to keep a break by Sene Naoupu alive. Two quick rucks and captain Paula Fitzpatrick dove over for the third. Stapleton missed the conversion but Ireland had a comfortable lead and were chasing the bonus point with nineteen minutes to play.
It looked as though Ireland had blown their chance of a bonus point as the clock ticked past the 80 minutes mark and they were awarded a late penalty in their own half. However, up stepped Stapleton who spotted Tyrrell in space. Stapleton’s kick pass bounced into the hands of Tyrell who turned the Italian defence inside and out on her way to the line for the bonus point try. Magnificent!
No conversion, but Ireland will be happy with the the final score of Italy Women 3 Ireland Women 27.
Ireland Women: Mairead Coyne, Hannah Tyrrell, Jenny Murphy, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller, Nora Stapleton, Ailsa Hughes, Lindsay Peat, Leah Lyons, Ailis Egan, Elaine Anthony, Marie Louise Reilly, Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick. Replacements: Jennie Finlay, Ilse van Staden, Ciara O’Connor, Ciara Cooney, Sophie Spence, Mary Healy, Claire McLaughlin, Eimear Considine.