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2017-18 International Rugby Women Ireland Women Rugby World Cup Women RWC2017 Six Nations Women

Ireland Women: Who did what 2017-18

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.

Round 1Ireland19 – 17Australia
Round 2Ireland24 – 14Japan
Round 3France21 – 5Ireland
5th Place SFIreland25 – 36Australia
7th Place FinalIreland17 – 27Wales
2017 World Rugby Women’s World Cup

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.

ProvincePlayersMinutes% of Total
Connacht584214.1%
Exile13465.8%
Leinster12313352.4%
Munster7130021.7%
Ulster 43596.0%
Total295980100%
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.

PLAYERSTARTSMINSTCPPTSPROVINCE
Alison Millar540020010Connacht
Hannah Tyrell54000102Leinster
Sene Naoupu53460000Exile
Lindsay Peat53451005Leinster
Nora Stapleton534007117Leinster
Ciara Griffin53301005Munster
Paula Fitzpatrick532740020Leinster
Marie Louise Reilly43200000Leinster
Cliodhna Moloney52911005Leinster
Ailis Egan52611005Leinster
Nicole Cronin42600000Munster
Claire Molloy42490000Connacht
Eimear Considine32400000Munster
Sophie Spence522920010Leinster
Katie Fitzhenry51891005Leinster
Ciara Cooney31770000Leinster
Ashleigh Baxter41500000Ulster
Jenny Murphy31460000Leinster
Larissa Muldoon41401005Ulster
Louise Galvin31360000Munster
Leah Lyons41350000Munster
Heather O’Brien31280000Munster
Jeamie Deacon21080000Leinster
Ciara O’Connor41050000Connacht
Anna Caplice1710000Munster
Ruth O’Reilly2480000Connacht
Claire McLaughlin1450000Ulster
Mairead Coyne1400000Connacht
Ilse Van Staden2240000Ulster
Yellow Card2200000
Total1076000148189

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.

Round 1France24 – 0Ireland
Round 2Ireland 21 – 8Italy
Round 3Ireland 35 – 12Wales
Round 4Ireland 12 – 15Scotland
Round 5England 33 – 11Ireland
2018 Women’s Six Nations

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.

Six Nations minutes played

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

ProvincePlayersMinutes Played% of Total
Connacht878713.1%
Leinster13338856.6%
Munster7149925.0%
Ulster33165.3%
Total315990100%
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.

PLAYERSTARTMINSTCPPTSPROVINCE
Ciara Griffin540020010Munster
Claire Molloy540030015Connacht
Sene Naoupu53911005Leinster
Megan Williams53681005Leinster
Lindsay Peat53570000Leinster
Paula Fitzpatrick53551005Leinster
Niamh Briggs534406115Munster
Kim Flood53320204Leinster
Katie Fitzhenry43200000Leinster
Cliodhna Moloney53190000Leinster
Ailsa Hughes52570000Leinster
Leah Lyons52571005Munster
Aoife McDermott32110000Leinster
Claire McLaughlin32070000Ulster
Hannah Tyrrell31801018Leinster
Orla Fitzsimons31530000Leinster
Fiona Reidy51430000Munster
Anna Caplice31360000Munster
Nicole Cronin41190000Munster
Nichola Fryday21150000Connacht
Ciara O’Connor41050000Connacht
Ashleigh Baxter21040000Ulster
Louise Galvin21000000Munster
Ciara Cooney2850000Leinster
Alison Miller2840000Connacht
Michelle Claffey4600000Leinster
Laura Feely5340000Connacht
Mary Healy1240000Connacht
Edel McMahon2160000Connacht
Mairead Coyne190000Munster
Nikki Caughey150000Ulster
Yellow card1100
Penalty Try1117
Totals1116000119279 

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.

PLAYERSTARTSMINUTESPOINTSPROVINCE
Sene Naoupu107375Leinster
Ciara Griffin1073015Munster
Lindsay Peat107025Leinster
Paula Fitzpatrick1068225Leinster
Claire Molloy964915Connacht
Cliodhna Moloney106105Leinster
Hannah Tyrell858010Leinster
Katie Fitzhenry95095Leinster
Alison Miller748410Connacht
Leah Lyons93925Munster
Nicole Cronin83790Munster
Megan Williams53685Leinster
Niamh Briggs534415Munster
Nora Stapleton534017Leinster
Kim Flood53324Leinster
Marie Louise Reilly43200Leinster
Ciara Cooney52620Leinster
Ailis Egan52615Leinster
Ailsa Hughes52570Leinster
Ashleigh Baxter62540Ulster
Claire McLaughlin42520Ulster
Eimear Considine32400Munster
Louise Galvin52360Munster
Sophie Spence522910Leinster
Aoife McDermott32110Leinster
Ciara O’Connor82100Connacht
Anna Caplice42070Munster
Orla Fitzsimons31530Leinster
Jenny Murphy31460Leinster
Fiona Reidy51430Munster
Larissa Muldoon41405Ulster
Heather O’Brien31280Munster
Nichola Fryday21150Connacht
Jeamie Deacon21080Leinster
Michelle Claffey4600Leinster
Mairead Coyne2490Connacht
Ruth O’Reilly2480Connacht
Laura Feely5340Connacht
Ilse Van Staden2240Ulster
Mary Healy1240Connacht
Edel McMahon2160Connacht
Nikki Caughey150Ulster
Total21811970161 

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