Ireland Women will be going in search of their second ever Six Nations Grand Slam when they host England at Donnybrook next Friday thanks to a 7- 12 win against Wales Women at Cardiff Arms Park earlier this morning.
Wales Women (0) 7
TRY: Shona Powell-Hughes.
CON: Robyn Wilkins
Ireland Women (7) 12
TRY: Lindsay Peat, Hannah Tyrrell.
CON: Nora Stapleton
Ireland scored tries through Lindsay Peat and Hannah Tyrrell to secure the win in a close match. Nora Stapleton chipped in with one conversion.
At the start of this series I had Ireland down for wins against Scotland and Italy and defeats to France, Wales and England, such was their miserable form during the Autumn Internationals. However, they have comfortably exceeded my expectations, the experienced players regrouping well and adding a hard edge to this side that we haven’t seen for a while.
The lead has come from the pack, the return of Sophie Spence being the main driver here, but the form of, comparative newcomer, Peat has also been a joy to behold, the Railway Union player being our player of the tournament so far.
It’s no surprise that Peat made the breakthrough two minutes from half time, the prop barging over the line after a well worked driving maul from Ireland, as she’d been the stand out player in a tight first half.
Wales had started well and kept Ireland pinned in their own half for most of the first quarter. However the hosts were unable to convert their chances, the breakdown being a ready source of penalties for both sides.
Jenny Murphy led the charge into Welsh territory at the start of the second quarter as Ireland turned the tables with strong running from Murphy, Alison Miller, Claire Molloy and Peat kept Wales on the back foot. A series of penalties towards the end of the half set up a five meter line out for Ireland and, after a dab by fellow prop Ailis Egan, Peat was on hand to cross for the opening score. Stapleton added the extras and Ireland took a 0 – 7 lead into the break.
Peat caught the eye for the wrong reasons on the resumption, hands in the ruck, and probably being a bit chopsy with the referee throughout, saw the ref lose her patience and issue a yellow card on the 42nd minute. Wales benefited immediately with Shona Powell-Hughes crossing off the back of the resulting five meter scrum. Robyn Wilkins added the extras to level the score.
The score was a fair reflection of a tight game and it didn’t change that much in the second half though a Welsh yellow card on the 53rd minute saw Ireland get on top. Peat and Paula Fitzpatrick came close before a charge by Murphy was quickly bounced out wide by Stapleton for Tyrrell to collect, on the second bounce, and cross out wide. Stapleton missed the conversion but Ireland led 7 – 12 with just over 15 minutes left.
Stapleton came to the fore in the closing exchanges to keep Wales at arms length and there was still time for Peat to have another barrelling run. However, there were no further scores, Ireland ending the game on the attack.
Ireland Women: Kim Flood, Hannah Tyrrell, Jenny Murphy, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller, Nora Stapleton, Mary Healy, Lindsay Peat, Leah Lyons, Ailis Egan, Sophie Spence, Marie Louise Reilly, Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick. Replacements: Ciara O’Connor, Ilse van Staden, Ruth O’Reilly, Ciara Cooney, Nichola Fryday, Larissa Muldoon, Nikki Caughey, Mairead Coyne.
With England Women beating Scotland Women 64 – 0 and France and Italy still to play the Women’s Six Nations Table looks like this: