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Welsh woe in November 'gave us the kick up the ass to work hard over Christmas'

Adam Griggs’ side are chasing a repeat of the 2018 win over Wales. They have only beaten Scotland since.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

IRELAND SCRUM-HALF Kathryn Dane was thrilled to hit the ground running in this year’s Six Nations and do enough, though just enough, to halt the 51-week wait for a win.

Sunday’s success over Scotland was well worth celebrating. Because if you look beyond last year’s win over the same opponent it is closing in on two years since Ireland recorded a win over anybody else.in a Test match (Wales in Februray 2018).

The defeat to the Principality in Donnybrook this past November – their only non-Six Nations fixture of last year – served to sharpen the mind.

“We’ve worked so hard since the last Six Nations and even working through the Autumn Series,” Dane said after the hard-fought win over Scotland.

“Having that loss against Wales really gave us the kick up the ass to work hard over Christmas. We’re delighted that this win against Scotland sets the tone now for the rest of the campaign. We’re just going to keep going into Wales now (Sunday, kick-off 1pm).”

Taking on the Welsh will no doubt bring the squad back to the painful late loss suffered at the UCD Bowl in November. Griggs’ side had pushed to a 10-0 lead in that game before ultimately falling to an 83rd minute Keira Bevan try to leave the visitors with a 13-15 victory.

As the tie wore on at Donnybrook on Sunday, Groundhog Day, there were fears of a repeat heartbreak. After a brilliant Irish attacking display blazed a trail to a 13-0 lead,  they found themselves hanging on and with barely a sniff of the ball for the last hour of the contest.

“We’ve been really focusing on unstructured rugby in our training sessions and we were just told to go out there and express ourselves,” says Dane, whose lightning quick service helped fuel the impressive early attack.

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“We did play with such flair in the first 15 minutes. Delighted about that, but hopefully next week we can turn that 15 minutes into 60 minutes, 70 minutes and really put teams under pressure.”

kathryn-dane Source: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

“It didn’t help that we gave away some cheap penalties to let them back into the game. That put us on the back-foot, I suppose.

They took their chances well and pinned us back into our red zone, but we dealt with it well. Our scramble defence has really been worked on since the Six Nations. We’re pleased that it came off.”

Dane will be hoping that out-half Ellen Murphy can shake off the calf knock, sustained before Beibhinn Parsons’ crucial breakaway try, so that they can re-forge a half-back partnership Ireland can build their game around.

“We both play the same sort of game. Very fast, quick rucks. We talk about gold ruck ball. That’s what we want to see all day long.

“We played together at Old Belvedere back in the day. We were both between 9 and 10 at that stage, so we know a lot about each other and we’re very familiar with each other’s game style.”

We’re going to learn from today. Obviously work on those things, try to reduce the number of penalties and that 15, 20 minutes of really expansive flair rugby.

“We’re going to try and increase that now for next week. So we can really capitalise on teams and get more points on the board.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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