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'No better feeling for Hannah to win Player of the Match when she was supposed to get married'

Adam Griggs pays tribute to the Ireland out-half who impressed against Wales after her nuptials were postponed.

Hannah Tyrrell running in to score a try against Wales.
Hannah Tyrrell running in to score a try against Wales.
Image: Robbie Stephenson/INPHO

THE TIMING WAS fortunate, but Ireland head coach Adam Griggs was still grateful that Hannah Tyrrell was available for selection on the weekend of their Six Nations opener.

The Ireland out-half was supposed to be getting married last Friday, but was forced to postpone the nuptials due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

While the squad was disappointed for her to miss out on her big day, they were surely relieved in equal measure to have her in the 10 jersey on Saturday afternoon. And she responded with a dominant display, kicking five conversions in a seven-try win over Wales.

She also helped herself to a try in the dying moments of the game to cap off a Player of the Match display. 

“We’re grateful that she was celebrating with the group as much as we can,” Griggs told the media about Tyrrell’s impressive display as his side gears up to take on France on Saturday in Energia Park [kick-off, 2.15pm].

“For her, I suppose it shows the dedication and commitment of this whole group that they’re willing to put lives on hold to represent the country so there’s no better feeling for Hannah to go out and win Player of the Match on the weekend when she was supposed to get married.

 ”Once we’re in more normal times, we’ll certainly celebrate with her.”

The scale of the challenge facing Ireland increases this weekend. Along with England, France are a tournament favourite with a semi-professional status in their squad.

adam-griggs Ireland head coach Adam Griggs. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

They also have a game under their belt coming into this tie, inflicting a 53-0 defeat on Wales two weeks ago. The winner in Donnybrook on Saturday will most likely be facing England in a title decider on 24 April.

There were some doubts about whether the fixture could be played or not, on account of the Covid-19 travel restrictions. But it now looks set to go ahead courtesy of an elite athletes’ exemption.

Griggs has named an unchanged team for the clash, rewarding the players who built the foundations of their 45-0 win last weekend.

“They’ve got threats across the park,” Griggs says about the challenge France poses for his side.

“You look at [Pauline] Bourdon at nine and [Caroline] Boujard on the wing, two players that we’re going to have to make sure we keep a lid on early on. Again, we’ve really got to target slowing down their ball.

“I think if they get front foot ball, they can become very dangerous on attack. Us around that breakdown, making sure that we can disrupt it early on and not give them the platform to use that ball out wide is really important.

“Similarly, I think for us in terms of attack, it’s being patient and earning that right to play.

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“We probably overplayed a few times last week and that’s probably how the game opened up, but I know this week will be a different test. We have to make sure that we build that platform first, stay patient before we look to expose them out wide. If we can.”

Remarking on how Ireland need to respond to the pressure of facing a tougher challenge, Griggs said:

“It’s about driving those messages to the players and we’re full of confidence. We’ve spoken about making sure we concentrate on ourselves. Every game we want to get better. Of course this is going to be a better opposition than what we faced last week.

“If we can focus on the parts of our game that we want to improve, there’s no reason why we won’t be competitive and really put France under the pump.”

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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