Over the past few weeks Impact has brought you a wealth of reading on the men’s six nations. But what about the women’s?
The fact that female rugby is underrepresented is so painstakingly obvious that the article won’t serve any purpose by being dedicated to it. Instead, we’ll do the sensible thing and give you a round up of what has been a fantastic few weeks of sport.
An optimistic first half for Scotland against Ireland allowed the side to believe they could clinch their first victory in over half a decade. Sadly this dream was shattered by a dynamic try in the dying seconds of the game, which saw Ireland win 22-15.
However, it was Scotland with all the opportunities. At the hour mark Scotland missed two very easy penalties, which would have broken the deadlock. Scrumhalf Sarah Law is only 22 and has a bright future ahead of her, but the volume of responsibility is showing at the moment.
The sad truth is that Scotland’s women were not up to scratch, and haven’t been in years. They aren’t a bad side individually, and there is serious talent in the likes of Jade Konkel who provided both of the tries for Scotland.
The team just don’t seem to be able to communicate on the field, whether through a lack of chemistry (as a result of a lack of league games), or simply due to a lack of morale, I cannot say, but they certainly are a bit out of touch with one another – and given the talent in the squad, it’s a shame.
Undeniably, Ireland were the better team against Scotland. They showed composure with the ball, excellent structure and absolute force in defence – but they didn’t exactly make the day easy for themselves!
Jenny Murphy played exceptionally, and her last minute effort created the points which were the difference between the two sides on the day, despite Ireland’s overall dominance, in what should have been an easy game for them.
Ireland seemed to be aware of their below par performance in Italy where they took the home side quite easily, but they took a good fifty minutes to step into their stride. 3-3 at half time is simply disappointing from an Irish perspective, especially with their dominance in the rucks, set pieces and possession.
The closing stages of the game did show us the impressive quality in the Irish team however, and they stormed their way to the top of the table with world-class running, lighting passing and an exceptional bonus point try crafted by Tyrell with her fifty meter run.
The women came out with intent against the Welsh in their first game. The first half was evenly matched and Italy actually seemed to be more innovative on the ball than the Welsh – a poor conversion effort from Italy’s Rigoni was the only difference at half time.
“They were lucky that Ireland performed terribly, or else they might have seen something of an onslaught”
But Wales did retort with vengeance in the second half – Italy simply couldn’t create any chances against the Welsh. They seemed to lack a sense of flair and, in all honesty, didn’t seem to care about the result. Any possession was quite comfortably diffused by their opponents and consequently they failed to put a point on the board. A disappointing end to the first game indeed.
The tackling was weak against Ireland, passing was nervous and the points were nearly non-existent, save a penalty from Sillari on the brink of half time. They were lucky that Ireland performed terribly, or else they might have seen something of an onslaught.
For those who don’t watch women’s rugby, a certain myth might ring around the French team – here it simply doesn’t.
France came into the first half of Round 1 looking untouchable. England couldn’t get a word in and the French momentum with possession more often than not ended in points, and France entered the break ahead 0-13.
Something must have gone wrong in the changing rooms at half time however, as the side returned to the field without any real cohesion, often leaving holes like Swiss cheese in the defence, and losing possession with any flimsy effort of an attack. Consequently the promising start to a title defence was extinguished by the end of the first weekend.
France did return to form against Scotland however, where a simple massacare of the Scottish was portrayed. France cruised over for nine tries, showed absolute control in attack and defence, dictated set pieces and simply obliterated any hope for their opponents.
Wales came out of the blocks with barely a spark. They fancied themselves for the game but were put into shock when their bland attempts of domination were diffused, and they were a mere two points ahead at the break. Thomas did display good personal determination with her try but her team didn’t match it until the second half.
There was a coolness about Wales in the second half, or to be cynical maybe complacency. The side were in charge but could probably have had more urgency against the Italians. The tries were mechanical and, yes, good tries, but not exciting ones.
“Hopefully some strong reflection and a few changes in the squad can see the Welsh fight back in future”
It’s embarrassing to lose to England, as a Welsh player. But to concede 38 points in one half, and to then go on to lose 63-0 is simply upsetting. The team has bags of talent but they don’t work together.
There was miscommunication at the breakdown, at the set pieces and when they actually get to hold the ball nobody seemed to know what to do with it. It was a shame to see the side be absolutely blown away like this, but there didn’t seem a hope in hell for them. Hopefully some strong reflection and a few changes in the squad can see the Welsh fight back in future.
There’s not much to really say about England’s women’s side at present. If we forget that they didn’t get out of bed for the first half against France, they’re pretty unstoppable.
Their talent is unrivalled in women’s rugby and their ability to execute set plays cannot be matched by any rugby team across the globe; they seem telepathic on the pitch.
Hopefully their urgency doesn’t slip, as resorting back to that sleepy state they had in the opening game could allow Ireland an opportunity to get one ahead of the English.
As we go into Round Three there’s still plenty to play for. England and Ireland look likely to be competing for first and second – the last weekend is set to be an absolute spectacle if performances by both are sustained. And it’s truly anyone’s game when it comes to 3rd– 6th, although sadly it might take a lot for the Scots to get back on form this year.