Sunday, February 05, 2017

Womens' Sx Nations - Week One

by Ciarán Duffy


It’s a world cup year, every game is massive.

Scotland 15 – 22 Ireland
6 years since Scotland have won a test match, and at the start of the game that run looked like it could end.  Scotland were more clinical than Ireland in the first have, taking more of their chances despite creating less.  Ireland were on top for most of the game but it seemed Scotland would hold out for at least a draw.  But with the clock in red, Jenny Murphy touched down to secure the first try-scoring bonus point in the Six Nations, at any level.

Jade Konkel powered over the line early on to give Scotland a 7 – 0 lead.  From there, Ireland took over.  The scrum provided a platform for Ireland to work their way into a try-scoring position.  Paula Fitzpatrick was held up, but it looked ominous.  Eventually Ireland found a way through out wide, a classy offload by Alison Miller found its way to Sene Naoupu, who showed fantastic strength to get over the try-line and stay in touch.  Miller herself got Irelands second, giving Ireland a 10 – 7 lead.  Scotland got their second with what was really their second chance of the match, it was Konkel again.  Konkel is Scotlands first womens professional player, she was missing for Scotlands unsuccessful world cup qualifier against Spain, and she was showing just what Scotland missed here.  A penalty saw Scotland lead 15 – 10 at halftime.

The second half saw Peat barge over the line off a maul to level things up.  The Scots had chances, Law and Nelson missed kickable penalties.  It looked like the win may have been gone, but Jenny Murphy found her way over the line in the 82nd minute, for Irelands 4th try.

A lot of handling errors in the first half.  And there were times Ireland just weren’t clinical.  Plenty of room to improve for next week.  Ireland showed a lot of maturity late on to secure the winner.  At the end of the day it’s a bonus point win.  Scotland got a losing bonus point and will feel aggrieved to not have taken more.  A lot of new faces have been introduced over the course of the November internationals, the whole replacement front row was uncapped.  It’s time to pick a settled group of players to work with for the world cup.  Two big names in Spence and Briggs to return.  Ireland got the bonus point win they needed, with plenty of room to improve.

Elsewhere:

England 26 – 13 France
France led 13 – 0 at halftime having had everything their way.  England scored 19 unanswered points in the second half, including a 68th minute penalty to go in front for the first time in the game.  It was finished off by a try, complete with a fantastic step by Wilson-Hardy.  Two favourites for the tournament, and the world cup, England looked stronger put can’t afford to start as slow as they did.  

Italy 8 – 20 Wales
First half was tight, Italy managed to get back within 2 points of Wales having fallen 10 behind.  In the second half Wales pulled clear with two tries.  Italy put on plenty of pressure but couldn’t muster up a score.



Ireland lead the table with 5 points.  England and Wales each have 4.  Scotland are in 4th with 1, France and Italy are bottom yet to get a point.

Next weekends fixtures (Irish kick-off times)

Saturday:
Wales – England (11:30)
France – Scotland (20:00)

Sunday:
Italy – Ireland (13:00)

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