Ireland Women: 2022 Six Nations Wrap

Published Categorised as 2020-21, 2021-22, International Rugby Women, Ireland Women, Six Nations Women Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Wales defeat Ireland 27-19 in the Women's 6 Nations in Dublin

The 2022 Women’s Six Nations was the first “stand alone” competition held outside of the traditional February/March time frame with the five rounds played in March and April.

From an Irish point of view it was the first tournament with the new head coach Greg McWilliams in charge. McWilliams tasked with rebuilding the side after 6 years of a declining performance from the Ireland Women’s international side culminating in their failure to qualify for the 2021 Women’s World Cup – the competition delayed to October 2022 due to the Covid pandemic.

Off the field, the tournament is regarded as one of the most successful ever with the games free to view on the BBC and record attendances claimed for most games though actual attendance figures are not available for the latter rounds.

On the field, the tournament was dominated by England and France. England averaged winning margins of more than 60 points per game against the other four sides with France averaging, slightly less than, a 30 point winning margin against the same.

Results

Ireland won two of their five games, losing to Wales, France and England and beating Italy and Scotland.

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe scores Ireland’s first try in the 2022 Women’s Six Nations

Round 1

RDS Arena, Dublin

Ireland 19
Wales 27

TRY: Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Linda Djougang, Stacey Flood.
CON: Nicole Cronin 2

Round 2

Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

FRANCE 40
IRELAND 5

TRY: Eve Higgins

Round 3

Musgrave Park, Cork

IRELAND 29
ITALY 8

TRY: Lucy Mulhall, Neve Jones, Eve Higgins, Penalty Try, Katie O’Dwyer
CON: Cronin

Round 4

Welford Road, Leicester

ENGLAND 69
IRELAND 0

Round 5

Ravenhill Stadium, Belfast

IRELAND 15
SCOTLAND 14

TRY: Neve Jones, Enya Breen.
CON: Enya Breen
PEN: Hannah O’Connor


The results left Ireland with a fourth place finish. It’s been a while since we have had a completed Women’s Six Nations Tournament but it’s a place higher than their 5th place finish in the last completed series in 2019.

2022 Women Six Nations Final Standings

TEAMPWDPDBPPTS
England550260727
France540104420
Wales520(70)311
Ireland520(90)19
Italy520(119)08
Scotland500(85)33
an ADDITIONAL 3 BONUS POINTS AWARDED TO ENGLAND FOR THE GRANDSLAM !?

Players Used

Greg McWilliams used 35 players throughout the 2022 Women’s Six Nations, for comparison there were 27 players used in the 3 match 2021 tournament, 25 used over 4 competed games in the 2020 tournament and 31 used in the 2019 competition.

Seven players, Aoibheann Reilly, Anna McGann, Christy Haney, Aoife Wafer, Molly Scuffil-McCabe, Niamh Byrne and Vicky Irwin all made their International XV’s debuts for Ireland.

Leinster continue to be the dominant province with 49% of the players named and they accounted for 39% of the minutes played. This is up 10% from the 2019 minutes played but down 5% from last season’s high of 44% minutes played for Leinster players.

2022 Ireland Women squad representation and minutes played by province.

Ulster’s minutes played is up 4% from last season, unfortunately though there is no Ulster club representation following Neve Jones‘ move to Gloucester-Hartpury

Looking at the representation by club there was a significant increase in players named from Railway Union, which is no surprise due to their domination of the AIL competitions, but in terms of playing time they only got players on the pitch for 2% more game time than, their nearest rivals, Blackrock College.

2022 Ireland Women squad representation and minutes played by club.

However, given the number of 7s players in the squad and the overseas club representation it was a team that did little to represent the Women’s AIL, which was a shame.

Minutes Played

Ireland’s player statistics account for 5,968 minutes out of a maximum of 6,000 the other 32 minutes lost due to 3 yellow and 1 red card.

No player played every minute of every game but it is still somewhat surprising the top six players in terms of minutes played are all forwards with Linda Djougang and Neve Jones bucking current trends by consistently playing over 70 minutes per game in the front row.

However, there is little doubt the mass exodus of the 7s players, after three games, have warped the stats with Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood and Lucy Mulhall all recording appearance minutes greater than 96% for the matches they were available.

Players should only be included in a squad if they are going to be available for the whole series. Ireland’s decision to remove the Sevens players halfway through the tournament was an insult to the squad and it devalued the Six Nations Tournament.

It was also a missed opportunity, the HSBC Womens Sevens World Series is such a poor standard this season Ireland should really have been testing their Sevens Squad’s depth.

Wasps Edel McMahon topped the minutes played table playing for 96.5% of the available time, missing only 14 minutes over the five games.

EDEL MCMAHON IN ACTION AGAINST SCOTLAND IN THE 2022 SIX NATIONS
PLAYERMINUTES
PLAYED
Edel McMahon386
Linda Djougang379
Nichola Fryday373
Neve Jones352
Dorothy Wall339
Sam Monaghan320
2022 Ireland Women Top 6 Minutes Played

Points Scored

68

IRELAND

158

OPPONENTS

The 90 point deficit is the largest points deficit for Ireland Women in the Six Nations since 2010 (when we started keeping records), thanks largely to the 69 unanswered points scored by England.

Perhaps more worryingly the 68 points scored is the lowest total scored by Ireland since 2010, the next nearest being 70 points in 2020 when only four games were completed.

Ireland’s points came from 11 tries, 5 conversions and a penalty goal. With a try and a conversion coming from a penalty try, Ireland’s conversion rate was 40% with 4 conversions from 10 attempts.

Neve Jones and Eve Higgins topped the try, and points, scoring charts with 10 points each from 2 tries.

Neve Jones scores against Scotland
Eve Higgins scores against Italy
PLAYERMINSTCPPTS
Neve Jones35220010
Eve Higgins24020010
Enya Breen2011107
Penalty Try01107
Nicole Cronin2690306
Linda Djougang3791005
Stacey Flood2341005
Lucy Mulhall2231005
Amee-Leigh Crowe1971005
Katie O’Dwyer1721005
Hannah O’Connor2640013
TOTAL115168
iRELAND POINTS SCORERS IN THE 2022 SIX NATIONS

Try assists were also monitored in the stats with Sam Monaghan and Stacey Flood recognised for 2 each with Linda Djougang, Nicole Cronin, Eimear Considine and Kathryn Dane recognised for one each.

Meters Carried

2,967

Meters

533

Carries

5.5

Meters per carry

IRELAND

3,786

Meters

618

Carries

6.1

Meters per carry

OPPONENTS

Ireland averaged just over 106 carries per game compared to an average of 123 carries by their opponents, Ireland’s carries per game down about 20% on previous seasons.

The spread of carries between forwards and backs seems pretty similar to previous seasons, the main issue being they just weren’t getting possession as often as in the past.

Ireland had their joint highest, and identical, meters carried and number of carries figures against Italy and France. Italy tried to match Ireland, but their second string squad weren’t able to, whereas France carried for 221 fewer meters than Ireland (about 25% less) but concentrated in the red zones to open Ireland up.

Despite missing out a game due to injury, Sam Monaghan was Ireland’s main carrier with 49 carries, captain Nicola Fryday was second with 43.

SAM MONAGHAN COMPLETED THE MOST CARRIES FOR IRELAND IN THE SIX NATIONS
playerminsmeterscarriesmeters
Per Carry
Eve Higgins2402772810
Sam Monaghan320230495
Amee-Leigh Crowe1972102011
Lucy Mulhall223205268
Hannah O’Connor264202405
Beibhinn Parsons1251911711
Linda Djougang379168365
Edel McMahon386167365
Dorothy Wall339165355
Nichola Fryday373159434
IRELAND WOMEN SIX NATIONS 2022 METERS CARRIED

Passes and Offloads

747

Passes

27

Offloads

3.7

Offloads per 100 passes

IRELAND

891

Passes

42

Offloads

4.7

Offloads per 100 passes

OPPONENTS

Open play in the Women’s Six Nations was disappointing. It’s not restricted to the women’s game, there is so much focus on defence these days that the game is largely consists of breakdown to breakdown to handling error. Unfortunately in the women’s game this hands a disproportionate advantage to the superheavyweight English pack.

Keeping the ball alive through passing and offloads is one way of reducing the physical advantage with offloads having the additional benefit of tying in a couple of defenders and in my opining makes the game a much more exciting spectacle.

A miserly 3 – 4 off loads per 100 passes tells the story and it was fairly similar for most of the teams against Ireland, France the only exception with a near 10% or 1 in 10 offloads per pass.

It’s a good area to work on for Ireland and could deliver a pretty spectacular improvement for a team that is never going to be able to consistently compete in the superheavyweight stakes.

Sam Monaghan, despite only completing 4.5 passes per game had the highest offload rate at 33% or 1 in 3 offloads per pass of the players that completed 10 or more passes over the series.

MONAGHAN RIDES THE TACKLE TO GET AN OFFLOAD AWAY TO DJOUGANG AGAINST WALES
playerminspassesoffloads
Sam Monaghan320186
Stacey Flood234413
Amee-Leigh Crowe19772
Beibhinn Parsons12552
Brittany Hogan14082
Christy Haney20362
Eve Higgins240142
Aoibheann Reilly1321211
Aoife Doyle18141
Edel McMahon386141
Katie O’Dwyer17231
Linda Djougang379101
Lucy Mulhall223201
Neve Jones35221
Vicky Irwin8021
Ireland Women six Nations 2022 offloads

Tackles

796

Successful Tackles

126

Missed Tackles

86%

Tackle Success

IRELAND

698

Successful Tackles

90

Missed Tackles

89%

Tackle Success

OPPONENTS

Ireland attempted a total of 922 tackles over the five games with 796 successful, giving a success rate of 86% compared to 89% for their opponents. Their opponents figures were boosted by a 95% tackle success for England and Ireland actually had the third best tackle success rate above Wales at 84% and France at 82%.

Once again, France’s figures are interesting and perhaps indicative of a team picking their moments to fully commit rather than expend a lot of energy trying to skittle everyone over every time?

Irrespective of that, the figures from McMahon and Jones are impressive, though personally I’d rather have seen Jones carry more and tackle less.

NEVE JONES BEATS EDEL MCMAHON TO THE TACKLE AGAINST ITALY.
playerminstackles
made
Tackles
Missed
Tackle
Success
Edel McMahon38689595%
Neve Jones35277297%
Linda Djougang37964790%
Dorothy Wall33964988%
Sam Monaghan32048787%
Nichola Fryday37343786%
Nicole Cronin26941687%
Hannah O’Connor26438686%
Stacey Flood23434881%
Enya Breen20130683%
IRELAND WOMEN SIX NATIONA 2022 TACKLE SUCCESS

Turnovers

22

Won

69

Conceded

24%

Win Rate

IRELAND

32

Won

73

Conceded

30%

Win Rate

OPPONENTS

Teams generally concede possession more times than they win it, though teams would be looking for a 40% win rate or better.

Only Italy had a lower win rate than Ireland and looking back at the games Ireland had particular issues taking the ball into contact with the player far too upright. Along with the passing this is another good work on for Ireland which should yield fairly quick results.

In terms of turnovers, this is one area where Ulster says no with Neve Jones conceding nothing while winning six, the sort of figures the “Turnover Queen” Claire Molloy would have been proud off.

NEVE JONES TOPPED NET TURNOVER SUCCESS BY SOME DISTANCE
Playerminswonconcedednet
Neve Jones352606
Aoife Doyle181101
Aoife McDermott50101
Aoife Wafer11101
Enya Breen201101
Aoibheann Reilly13212-1
Edel McMahon38612-1
Katie O’Dwyer17212-1
Anna McGann2501-1
Brittany Hogan14001-1
Grace Moore4501-1
Hannah O’Connor26435-2
Linda Djougang37924-2
Stacey Flood23413-2
Eve Higgins24002-2
Sene Naoupu14702-2
Dorothy Wall33903-3
Kathryn Dane26503-3
Nikki Caughey6003-3
Beibhinn Parsons12504-4
Lucy Mulhall22304-4
Molly Scuffil-McCabe16004-4
Nicole Cronin26904-4
Nichola Fryday37327-5
Eimear Considine17605-5
Sam Monaghan32006-6
IRELAND WOMEN SIX NATIONS 2022 TURNOVERS

Handling Errors

79

IRELAND

99

OPPONENTS

Handling errors are part and partial of the modern game with blitz defences causing errors and Ireland’s average of just under 16 per game is in their “usual” ballpark and somewhat less than their opponents.

Looking at handling errors per pass, Ireland’s error rate comes in at 9% and their opponents 10% so not a lot in it. It’s all about maintaining skills under pressure and it’s something that can be worked on. Wales, who kept things fairly simple in their win against Ireland produced an extraordinarily low 4% handling error rate whereas the makeshift Italian side posted one in excess of 14%.

You would expect those players that complete the most passes to have the most handling errors, so in defence of the top 3 in the table below Dane’s handling error rate comes in at 3%, Reilly’s at 6% and Cronin’s at 10%

PlayerMinsHandling
Errors
Kathryn Dane2659
Aoibheann Reilly1328
Nicole Cronin2697
Beibhinn Parsons1255
Nikki Caughey605
Dorothy Wall3394
Enya Breen2014
Stacey Flood2344
Brittany Hogan1403
Katie O’Dwyer1723
Lucy Mulhall2233
Nichola Fryday3733
Sam Monaghan3203
Christy Haney2032
Edel McMahon3862
Eimear Considine1762
Eve Higgins2402
Hannah O’Connor2642
Molly Scuffil-McCabe1602
Sene Naoupu1472
Ailsa Hughes51
Amee-Leigh Crowe1971
Anna McGann251
Linda Djougang3791
iRELAND wOMEN SIX NATIONS 2022 HANDLING ERRORS

Penalties Conceded

62

IRELAND

46

OPPONENTS

Considering the number of scoring chances that come from attacking line outs penalties conceded is a big work on for Ireland who conceded an average of 3 more penalties per game than their opponents.

The benchmark of 10 or less penalties per game is oft quoted but that has slipped up with the introduction of the new tackle laws. Italy were the only side that conceded more penalties than Ireland in their head to heads, Wales setting the benchmark by only conceding 5 in their opening round meeting.

playerminspenalties
conceded
Dorothy Wall3398
Linda Djougang3795
Christy Haney2034
Hannah O’Connor2644
Katie O’Dwyer1724
Neve Jones3524
Nichola Fryday3734
Edel McMahon3863
Nicole Cronin2693
Sam Monaghan3203
Aoibheann Reilly1322
Beibhinn Parsons1252
Brittany Hogan1402
Chloe Pearse472
Nikki Caughey602
Stacey Flood2342
Amee-Leigh Crowe1971
Eimear Considine1761
Emma Hooban491
Enya Breen2011
Michelle Claffey721
Molly Scuffil-McCabe1601
Sene Naoupu1471
Vicky Irwin801
IRELAND WOMEN SIX NATIONS 2022 PENALTIES CONCEDED

The Front Row Union
Ireland Player of the Tournament

There were three Ireland Women players that consistently caught the eye, namely Sam Monaghan, Edel McMahon and Neve Jones, all three worthy of player of the tournament.

However, after a couple of quiet games against the USA and Japan in November, I though that the turn around from Edel McMahon was magnificent and I found it hard to find any downside to her game; not that the was a lot to complain about from the other two.

In my book though, McMahon did her job and did it flawlessly, without fanfare, and is our Ireland Women Player of the Tournament.

EDEL MCMAHON – THE FRONT ROW UNION IRELAND PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT

All the statistics used in this report came from the Official Womens Six Nations site you can view our consolidated stats for all the Ireland players by clicking below.

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