Ireland Vs Canada
So Ireland were convincingly beaten by Canada in The UCD Bowl where Ireland made a number of changes to the XV that had faced England the previous week with Mary Healy and Nikki Caughey partnered at half back. Canada were beaten by England at the 2014 World Cup Final in Paris.
Canada of course have been doing extremely well on the 7s circuit and with a World Cup on Irish soil in August 2017 they certainly put down a marker to each team that will play in that tournament. The Canadians had a very strong pack that carried ball right into the heart of the Irish defence and time and again made major strides forward round the fringes with skipper Kelly Russell and second rowers Kayla Mack and Laytoya Blackwood carrying hard and causing Ireland all sorts of trouble in defence.
When Ireland got the ball and were able to put a cohesive attack together they looked extremely dangerous with Alison Miller and Sene Naoupu to the fore. Canada managed to put 48 points past Ireland with a very sharp attack and a strong set piece. Full Back Julieanne Zussman contributed two tries along with the star of the 2014 World Cup Magali Harvey scoring a good try aswell.
Canada showed the new caps in the Irish team what the step up to Test match rugby will be like and for the most part, Ireland struggled to match Canada’s aggression at the breakdown and also the all-round speed with which Canada got the ball wide to a very impressive back division.
With the Black Ferns next up for Ireland, Tom Tierney will have to work extremely hard to try and get Ireland focused for a huge final Test match before the 6 Nations next year. Tierney has some big choices to make does he restore the heavy hitters to the first XV or does he stick with some of the same 23 that faced Canada and give them the chance to atone for a hugely disappointing performance against The Black Ferns who will come here after a game against England.
With a home World Cup on the horizon, Ireland will need to finish this November Test Series with a strong performance and having beaten New Zealand that last time these two sides met , they will know what is required to get the desired result.
They were only touched off by England, they were ruthlessly dispatched by Canada and now they have one final chance to register a win to end the 2016 season on a high note.
There have been terrific crowds in UCD over the past 2 weeks and I encourage everyone who can to get out and support the Women’s team this Sunday at 2pm.
Cian Mc Gibney