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Ireland Women finish strong against Kazakhstan and book place in first World Cup semi-final

Philip Doyle’s side overcame a difficult opening to make history yet again.

Sharon Lynch dots down the opener.
Sharon Lynch dots down the opener.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Ireland 40

Kazakhstan 5

THE HARD YARDS had been put in the opening games of Pool B, but today’s six-try victory over Kazakhstan in Marcoussis confirmed Ireland Women’s place in the Rugby World Cup semi-finals, and history.

Two tries from Sharon Lynch book-ended brilliant scores from Tania Rosser and Siobhan Fleming before Vikki McGinn grabbed number six with time up.

Fullback Jackie Shiels, taking over the number 15 jersey and the kicking tee from Niamh Briggs, added 10 points from the boot in a flawless display.

The final score will flatter Ireland as, having made 10 changes from the famous win over New Zealand, the side suffered with a lack of fluidity and lack of assurance as the unforced error count grew.

An early spell of pressure and late flash brilliance from Rosser was all Ireland had to shout about in a first half in which they spent most of the 40 minutes on the back foot.

An early handling error from Algerym Daurembayeva five metres from her own line gave Ireland the platform to attack early on. After one chance was spurned by winger Vikki McGinn’s dropped ball during a phase of advantage, Ireland came back for a penalty which was kicked to touch.

The line-out that followed was one of few that ran smoothly during the opening 40 minutes and it laid the foundation for flanker Lynch to break a central tackle and ground the sixth minute score under the posts.

From that point in, however, the territory belonged chiefly to Kazakhstan. And they would have been on the scoreboard sooner than the 23rd minute had Daurembayeva not shanked a 30-metre penalty well wide of the mark.

With the Kazakh pack well on top and Ireland unable to clear their lines, they forced their way over the try-line after 20 minutes, only to be held up in goal.

Within minutes, though, they had their reward when lock Svetlana Karatygina spun free of another dominant maul to ground Kazakhstan’s third try of the tournament. Yet it proved a third game with just a single score.

Tania Rosser hands off Aigerym Daurembayeva Rosser steps out of a tackle from Daurembayeva. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Daurembayeva’s touchline conversion attempt was this time struck perfectly, but the fullback just did not have the range and the ball dipped a foot under the post to leave two points between the sides.

Ireland’s fitness again began to tell as the half wore on. And on a rare foray into opposition territory, Ireland’s classy half-back Rosser (today wearing the number 10 jersey) burst through the gap and showed a sublime step to wrong-foot the last defender and go full stretch to touch the pill on the try-line.

That score took the wind out of the sails of the Asian champions, but after taking a 14 – 5 lead into half-time, Ireland were unable to make any real inroads into the opposition until the star names were sprung from the bench after an hour.

The introduction of captain Fiona Coghlan and Ailis Egan gave the Pool B leaders new impetus at the coalface. And it soon paid dividends as they forced a penalty try and the the sin-binning of Marianna Balashova created the space that allowed Fleming raid the right-wing channel and gallop a full 60 metres to the line.

With the bonus point sealed, from that point on, it was a matter of how many rather than if. Lynch claimed her second score 10 minutes from time and winger McGinn rounded off another flowing second half move after the clock had moved beyond 80.

Ireland’s semi-final opponents will be confirmed later today as the line-up will be determined by seeding. The bonus point win leaves Ireland on 13 points with England, Canada (who play eachother) and France on 10 points before kick-off.

Ireland scores

Tries: S Lynch (2), T Rosser, Penalty, S Fleming, V McGinn.

Conv: J Shiels (5)

Kazakhstan scores

Try: S Karatygina.

Ireland:  Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile); Vikki McGinn (Blackrock/Leinster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile) (capt), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Hannah Casey (Saracens/Exile); Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Bristol/Exile); Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Kerrie-Ann Craddock (Saracens/Exile), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).

Replacements: Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht), Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster).

Kazakhstan: Algerym Daurembayeva, Oxana Shadrina, Anne Yekovleva (capt.), Balzhan Kolshybayeva, Luudmila Sapronova; Svetlana Klyuchnikova, Amina Baratova: Yelena Muradova, Yelena Yevdokimova, Olga Baktiquzina; Lyudmila Matiyeva, Svetlana Karatygina; Symbat Zhamankulova, Kundyzay Baktybayeva, Marianna Balashova

Replacements:  Irina Radzevil, Yelena Rogacheva, Yelena Kiryushina, Karina Proskurina, Anastassiya Khamova, Aigul Dairbayeva, Olga Sazonova.

Snapshot: Craddock and Ireland tuning up for Kazakh clash

Munster head coach Foley relishing the pressure of first season

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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