Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney admitted that the massive effort produced in the opening 50 minutes of their Six Nations decider eventually took its toll.
Just five points separated the teams at that stage of the match but when England replacement prop Laura Keates claimed the second try, Tierney felt the visitors showed why they are favourites for the upcoming Women’s Rugby World Cup in Dublin and Belfast.
“I suppose that first 50 minutes, we were defending for most of it. It just took its toll on us, and unfortunately when they got that second try, the shackles were off with them and they showed how good they are. We were chasing shadows for a bit of that second half, but credit due to the girls,” Tierney told the Ireland website.
“We knew we were going to be up against a hugely physical English team, that can play both types of game. A kicking game and a running game. They’re definitely going to be the favourites for the World Cup.”
Having gone close to breaking through the English defence in the latter stages of the first half, there was a sense that the game was there for the taking. If Ireland were to get themselves within reach of the Championship title, Tierney believed they need to score first after half-time and acknowledged that they had chances to do so in the third quarter.
“When you go in just one score down, and you’re confident enough that if you get the first 10 minutes right in the second half, and get a score – which was key – it could possibly change the course of the game.
“We did get an opportunity (from a maul) but unfortunately we didn’t take it. Obviously England showed their class then for the last 30 minutes. It was a very, very tough game. Physically, the girls are beaten up inside (in the dressing room). That English team is very, very impressive.”