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'When you've a couple of thousand Irish people roaring at you, those demons are blown away'

Ireland face Japan in their second World Cup game later, and Lindsay Peat hopes the home support can help the team record another victory.

Ryan Bailey reports from UCD 

IRELAND’S WORLD CUP campaign rumbles on apace this evening and although the pressure valve has been loosened slightly after the opening fixture was safely negotiated, there is an expectation on the hosts to go out later and register a victory of intent.

A view of the team huddle at the end of training Ireland are ready for their second game of the tournament. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

After Tom Tierney’s side came through the physical and stern examination provided by Australia unscathed on Wednesday, the second outing of the tournament, against a Japan side smarting from a hammering at the hands of France, should be a lot more straightforward.

The Japanese shipped 12 tries at Billings Park in their campaign opener and there will be an onus on Ireland to release the shackles and unleash their backs in front of a capacity crowd at the Belfield Bowl [KO 5.15pm, RTÉ2 and eir Sport].

Not only do Ireland need to find a creative spark and get their backline clicking, but Pool C has the potential to be decided by points difference and even if Tierney won’t admit it, beating Japan with a four-try bonus point is essential.

The head coach has made seven changes in personnel for the second game with 24-year-old scrum-half Nicole Cronin handed her debut, while Mairead Coyne and Katie Fitzhenry have also come into the backline.

Cronin will have the responsibility of feeding the backs with quick ball and providing a platform for the likes of Nora Stapleton and Sene Naoupu to pull the strings and pick holes in a Japanese defence which will be without two key players.

The loss of talismanic number eight Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave, who fractured her leg in the reversal to France on Wednesday, is a huge blow while centre Makiko Tomita has been suspended for three games following her red card in Wednesday’s defeat.

Even still, Ireland know they’ll need to be sharp and focused in defence having leaked seven tries against Japan during two trial games played between the sides in UCD as recently as June.

Both in attack and defence, Ireland will need to stamp their authority on the game and, as Tierney acknowledged in yesterday’s press conference, if his side can execute the basics and win the battle up front, they should have no problem recording a five point victory.

Lindsay Peat and Tom Tierney Lindsay Peat and Tom Tierney at today's press conference. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“If we do our job, we’re going to be in a good place to put ourselves on the front foot,” he said, before quickly re-emphasising the threat Japan will bring to the occasion.

And an occasion it will be, with the Belfield Bowl once again sold out and a large Sunday afternoon crowd expected on campus to soak up the atmosphere and lend their support to a campaign which is gathering pace and momentum.

“They’re chomping at the bit, we can’t wait to get out on the Bowl again,” Tierney added, before Lindsay Peat, sitting to his right, was asked to put the significance of a home crowd into words.

“I’ll tell you exactly what it means,” the prop said. “When you’ve a demon in your ear telling you you can’t do this, a couple of thousand Irish people roar at you and those demons are blown away and you just get these goosebumps. You’re just buzzing, you’re invincible.

“You feel invincible and that’s what they [the crowd] did on Wednesday night, they just lifted us and shoved us. That’s what we need in the next four games and if any nation is going to do it, it’s going to be the Irish.

“On behalf of the team, we’re hugely thankful for everyone getting behind us but we still need you for the next four games and hopefully that’ll be all the way up to a World Cup final.”

Another 3,500 spectators will pack the Bowl to the rafters while thousands more will tune in to live television coverage on RTÉ and eir Sport, with a peak audience of 322,300 watching the closing stages of the win over Australia.

While the overall reaction to this tournament has been hugely positive with the nation rowing in behind Tierney and the team, there has been some negative comments made about the women’s game in general.

Peat had a message for those who remain skeptical, asking them to come and watch Tierney’s side, or any of the World Cup games for the matter, before making their judgement.

“We’re absolutely delighted [with the reaction] because the management and players have worked three years for this,” she continued. “We’re chomping at the bit, everyone is just biting at Tom’s hand to get their name on the team-sheet.

Ireland fans celebrate a try Another capacity crowd of 3,500 will be at the Bowl later for Ireland's second game. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“The support has been phenomenal, I believe the viewing figures were over 300,000 and that’s just massive for any sport in Ireland, especially the female game.

“And if people are skeptical without viewing our standard of rugby then they really aren’t a believer in this game, regardless of which sex are playing it. I think there has been a huge show of very talented players and we’ve only had game one. If you’re skeptical, just come and watch us and hopefully we’ll answer those questions today.

“If people come along and they say they don’t like the standard of the games that’s their own opinion but to be honest, I think it was a great game [against Australia], especially for supporters. People who came and watched the game live were absolutely buzzing.

“If you love rugby and you love sport, it has been a great tournament so far and hopefully it will be a great day again today.”

Ireland:

15. Mairead Coyne
14. Hannah Tyrrell
13. Katie Fitzhenry
12. Sene Naoupu
11. Alison Miller
10. Nora Stapleton
9. Nicole Cronin

1. Lindsay Peat
2. Cliodhna Moloney
3. Ciara O’Connor
4. Ciara Cooney
5. Sophie Spence
6. Ciara Griffin
7. Ashleigh Baxter
8. Claire Molloy (capt)

Replacements:

16. Leah Lyons
17. Ruth O’Reilly
18. Ailis Egan
19. Paula Fitzpatrick
20. Anna Caplice
21. Larissa Muldoon
22. Jeamie Deacon
23. Louise Galvin

Japan

15. Mayu Shimizu
14. Eriko Hirano
13. Iroha Nagata
12. Riho Kurogi
11. Honoka Tsutsumi
10. Minori Yamamoto
9. Moe Tsukui

1. Makoto Ebuchi
2. Seina Saito
3. Saki Minami
4. Aoi Mimura
5. Ayano Sakurai
6. Yuki Sue
7. Sayaka Suzuki
8. Maki Takano

Replacements:

16. Misaki Suzuki
17. Mizuho Kataoka
18. Maiko Fujimoto
19. Aya Nakajima
20. Yui Shiozaki
21. Yumeno Noda
22. Ayaka Suzuki
23. Ai Tasaka

Referee: Ian Tempest.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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