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Ireland are coming off the back of a win over Italy.
Ireland are coming off the back of a win over Italy.
Image: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

A huge day for Irish women's rugby as Ireland aim for World Cup spot

Adam Griggs’ side face Scotland in Italy at 5pm.
Sep 25th 2021, 6:00 AM 4,580 0

COME KICK-OFF time this evening in Parma, Ireland will know exactly what they need to do against Scotland [KO 5pm, RTÉ2].

Italy and Spain clash in the earlier World Cup Qualifier fixture at 2pm today, with all four sides locked on five match points this morning. That means all four of them awoke with real ambitions of topping the tournament table and advancing into next year’s World Cup in New Zealand 

It promises to be a day of rugby full of twists and turns. The second-placed team overall will have one final chance at World Cup qualification as they go into a repechage with Samoa, Colombia, and an Asian side, but everyone wants to get the job done today.

This is a huge fixture for Irish women’s rugby. Missing out on the World Cup is close to unthinkable and there’s little doubt it would do damage to the sport, particularly after the disappointing performances at the home World Cup in 2017.

But Ireland have cause for some confidence after recovering from their opening defeat to Spain by improving in a 15-7 victory against the Italians last weekend.

The Irish defensive effort was excellent in that win and while Adam Griggs’ unchanged side will be aiming to score as many points as possible today in the event of finishing level on match points with another team, their work without the ball will be key too.

“Connections and line speed were huge for us,” said Griggs of that Italy game. “We were able to show high up on the field and on the edges, which then forces an attack to step back in.

“And as long as we were solid on the inside, we were able to shut off the Italian attack. We’ve just spoken about that again. We want to make sure in our defence that we force them be as skilful as possible, and if they can’t do that, then we’re looking for turnover ball and gainline victory.”

beibhinn-parsons-scores-a-try Beibhinn Parsons is a massive threat on the left wing. Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

Meanwhile, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe’s try after a stunning surge by fellow wing Biebhinn Parsons showed what Ireland can do in attack.

“From a coaching team, that’s probably one of the more frustrating parts, that you can see what we can do with good clean ball and the skill level that the backline have,” said Griffs.

“If we can get the set-piece right, give them the platform, we know we have the most lethal finishers in the game. Hopefully, they get those opportunities this week.”

The set-piece is a big ‘if’ after two very poor lineout performances in a row, as well as scrum issues in both games. 

The lineout has malfunctioned repeatedly in the opposition 22, meaning Ireland haven’t been able to convert promising field position. It simply must be better against the Scots.

“We’ve done a lot of work this week on that,” said captain Ciara Griffin. “Sometimes set-piece flies and sometimes it doesn’t but it’s the knock-on effects as well.

“So it’s working on ways to be switched on for that lineout or that set-piece. We’re very confident in the set-piece for this week.”

If Ireland can give themselves clean possession and get the ball into the hands of Parsons and Murphy Crowe, they could do major damage against a Scotland team who bounced back from their opening defeat against Italy to beat Spain last time out. 

ciara-griffin Ciara Griffin will lead from the front. Source: Giuseppe Fama/INPHO

The permutations are plentiful. If teams finish level on match points after this final round, then their placing will be decided in the following order: the result of the fixture between the two teams, points difference, tries difference, most points scored, most tries scored, a coin toss. 

Ireland, therefore, don’t want Spain to notch a bonus-point win this afternoon against the Italians. Anything else and their hopes of going straight into the World Cup will be alive heading into 5pm and the pressure will be on to deliver.

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“The thing with pressure is how you use it and how you mould it to suit you,” said Griffin.

“I take all that nearly as extra energy because it is about what you are representing and what you are doing.”


  • 15. Eimear Considine 
  • 14. Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe 
  • 13. Eve Higgins
  • 12. Sene Naoupu
  • 11. Beibhinn Parsons 
  • 10. Stacey Flood 
  • 9. Kathryn Dane
  • 1. Laura Feely
  • 2. Cliodhna Moloney 
  • 3. Linda Djougang
  • 4. Nichola Fryday
  • 5. Sam Monaghan
  • 6. Dorothy Wall
  • 7. Edel McMahon
  • 8. Ciara Griffin (captain)


  • 16. Neve Jones 
  • 17. Lindsay Peat
  • 18. Leah Lyons
  • 19. Brittany Hogan
  • 20. Claire Molloy
  • 21. Emily Lane
  • 22. Lucy Mulhall
  • 23. Lauren Delany


  • 15. Chloe Rollie
  • 14. Rhona Lloyd
  • 13. Hannah Smith
  • 12. Lisa Thomson
  • 11. Megan Gaffney
  • 10. Helen Nelson
  • 9. Jenny Maxwell
  • 1. Leah Bartlett
  • 2. Lana Skeldon
  • 3. Christine Belisle
  • 4. Emma Wassell
  • 5. Louise McMillan
  • 6. Rachel Malcolm (captain)
  • 7. Rachel McLachlan
  • 8. Jade Konkel


  • 16. Molly Wright
  • 17. Lisa Cockburn
  • 18. Katie Dougan
  • 19. Sarah Bonar
  • 20. Evie Gallagher
  • 21. Mairi McDonald
  • 22. Sarah Law
  • 23. Abi Evans

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey look ahead to the inaugural United Rugby Championship, and a massive weekend for Ireland in their bid to qualify for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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