Questions need to be asked after disappointing Six Nations, says Fiona Coghlan
By Fiona Coghlan
It was a bleak St. Patrick's Day in Cardiff as the Irish Women’s team lost 24-5 to Wales.
Ireland dominated some early possession and they were first to score through teenager Beibhinn Parsons but they failed to kick on after that.
We struggled in the set-piece, an area which I thought in advance of the game they would dominate, particularly the scrum. However, Wales had done their homework and targeted Ireland in that area. Even when Wales went down to seven players in the pack they managed to dominate.
Matters weren’t helped when Ireland lost one of their second rows Nichola Fryday to injury on the 20th minute, with no clear second-row replacement on the bench, there was a complete reshuffle of the pack. Anna Caplice was the substitute that came on and she made a real impact in the loose, I would question why she wasn’t starting based on her form already in the competition but the set-piece continued to struggle.
With the score 12-5 at half-time you would have hoped the 10-minute break would have given Ireland time to sort out some of the problems.
This didn’t happen and the second half was just as error-strewn as the first, with Wales capitalising on the many Irish mistakes. Wales finished the game scoring two tries, to end the game 24-5.
It was Wales' first time to beat Ireland in the Six Nations since 2011.
It was a disappointing Six Nations for Ireland.
They finished fifth, which is the worst finish since 2006.
The only bright point of this Championship was that we can see young players that have potential coming through. The likes of Parsons and Breen give me hope that we have players in the country who are athletic and skilful but they need to learn the game.
Without doubt, there has definitely been more activation with girls in clubs and schools at a younger age and hopefully, we will see the benefits of this as these players transition to adult level.
However, questions do need to be asked why, with more money gone into Women’s Rugby in the last four years, that we are seeing a gradual decline in performances and now results at international level.
Fiona Coghlan is the former Captain of the Irish Women’s 2013 Grand Slam Winning Rugby Team. A PE and Maths Teacher, Fiona is also a Client Services Manager at sports management agency, Navy Blue Sports.