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'We're better than the scoreline reflects' - Ireland looking to third-place play-off after 41-point defeat

Adam Griggs says his side will refocus to chase down a third-place finish in the Six Nations next weekend.

Ireland captain Ciara Griffin speaks to her team after the game.
Ireland captain Ciara Griffin speaks to her team after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Adam Griggs says his side are “better than the scoreline reflects” after their 41-point defeat to France at Energia Park.

The visitors posted eight tries, including a penalty try, in a comprehensive display to finish as Pool B winners in the revamped Six Nations. They will now face England next weekend with tournament honours on the line.

Ireland made an encouraging start, and were the more impressive side in the opening 10 minutes as Hannah Tyrrell scored a penalty to give them an early lead. But the difference in status cannot be overstated and Ireland were unable to hold off the French charge.

Caroline Boujard and Cyrielle Banet both scored two tries each while Ireland came away with just two tries through Cliodhna Moloney and Emma Hooban.

“There’s some positives we can look at through the game but certainly, we felt we’re better than the scoreline reflects,” Griggs told the media after the final whistle in Donnybrook.

“We’re going to review the footage and get back to the drawing board for next week.

“You look at the first two tries. They came through our own errors. We missed a lineout which gives them a scrum. Our defensive set-up was wrong which, against a quality outfit like that, they exploit it straight away and score on the edge.

“We certainly felt that a few of those tries came from our own mistakes against a quality team.”

France showed their class all over the pitch, leading 38-8 at half-time with five tries already on the board. After that promising 10-minute spell, Ireland struggled to keep pace with France’s attacking play for the remainder of the game.

France’s superiority was obvious as they forced the hosts to make mistakes and concede scores.

“I think we probably let them play a little bit too much,” says Griggs.

“We spoke about our line speed and really trying to force errors on them. And in the first 10 minutes, we did that and we forced some mistakes.

“I think we got France on a really good day and we weren’t at our best. It was always going to take our best to be competitive in this game. We’re on a different journey. I look at last week and that doesn’t make us a great team but ultimately, this week’s performance doesn’t make us a bad team.

“We’ve just got to improve from this week’s game into next weekend, whoever we play. We want to show we are in that top-three half of this table.

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Griggs added that bodies are sore in the Irish dressing room, but they have only a short turnaround before their final Six Nations outing in 2021. They will now face Italy, who defeated Scotland this evening in Pool A, to battle it out for third place in the championship next weekend.

Griggs is confident that his team will recover from today’s defeat and refocus to finish the 2021 Six Nations on a high.

“We spoke as a group that we’ve got to take the learnings from this game and show that we are the third-best team in this competition and the only way you can do that is by going out next week and putting on a performance that we can be proud of. 

“If we can do that, then we want to leave no doubts where we sit in this Six Nations championship.”

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