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Tom Tierney hoping Ireland apply lessons learned from England defeat in Canada clash

Plus, Niamh Briggs could be set for a return soon after an injury lay-off

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

TOM TIERNEY IS hopeful that his side can take the lessons they’ve learned from their defeat in their first November Test, and utilise the positives against Canada this weekend.

Ireland suffered a two-point defeat to England on Sunday but Tierney is confident his players produced an adequate performance that they can build on this Saturday in the UCD Bowl.

“The first thing we want to be is competitive against any team we play, no matter who we put out on the field.

Tweet by @Murray Kinsella Source: Murray Kinsella/Twitter

“I thought physically we were there against England, I thought the girls performed very well especially at the set-piece, which was an area that we highlighted.

“That would be a critical area of work for us against Canada who put a lot of emphasis on disruption at scrum and line-out time and that’s what we’ve been working on this week, just making sure that the girls are up to speed in the set-piece.

From the set-piece we try to build our game, especially in attack.
We just want to make sure that we’re organised without being too structured in attack that we can actually get ourselves into the right position to put them under pressure.
With the personnel changes that might take a bit of time at the start of the game but we’re confident enough that we can get ourselves into the game.

For the second consecutive game, Tierney has handed out Test caps to bleed in more players with Anna Caplice and Nichola Fryday coming into the pack against a Canada team who are ranked third in the world.

IrelandÕs captain Paula Fitzpatrick talks to the team after the match

Tierney says that this player rotation system allows the players to get a flavour for international rugby while also enabling him to discover the depth that lies within the squad in preparation for the Six Nations and World Cup competitions next year.

“I’m very conscious of the fact that girls who are making their first appearance for their country, it’s a very emotional time, it’s a brilliant time.

“You just want to set them up as best they can so that they can go out and express themselves and we’ve given a small bit of direction to the girls like we would with all the players.

“We just want them to enjoy the occasion. They most definitely would not be here if they weren’t good enough and they know that and that’s something that hopefully will hold them in good stead going onto the field.”

The Ireland head coach also offered a positive update on Niamh Briggs who is expected to make a return from injury in time for their last November Test outing against New Zealand on Sunday week. Her progress, however, will be monitored until then.

“Niamh (Briggs) with her hamstring is almost back so we’re very confident that she’ll be involved for the final game of the series. But again it’s just a day by day monitoring process that we just have to make sure that she is 100% because once again with injuries like that we can’t be rushing them back just for the sake of one game.

“If she’s right,” he added, “she’s going to be involved, if she’s not right, we’ll make sure that she’s right for the Six Nations.”

Elsewhere, Claire Molloy has been ruled out of action until after Christmas due to a shoulder injury she sustained last weekend while Sophie Spence remains in the return-to-play protocols as a precautionary measure, after suffering a concussion injury.

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