Stuttering Ireland do just about enough to take group qualification down to Thursday’s French decider.
Head coach Tom Tierney will have known that this was not Ireland at its best, it was and Irish side that struggled to live the with intensity and pace of Japanese of for the first 60 minutes of the game.
Ultimately the victory has set up what is for all intents and purposes a World Cup 1/4 final with the free scoring French on Thursday.
France dispatched Australia 48-0 in their Pool C game this evening to take control of the group with two bonus points win and a huge points differential. It means only a win will be good enough for Ireland to progress on Thursday.
— Aon Ireland (@AonIreland) August 13, 2017
Japan asked serious questions of an Ireland side that saw seven changes from their opening win over the Wallaroos. Speaking to media after the game, Tierney conceded that his side fell short of their own high standards.
“It’s going to be a cup final against the French, anything can happen. We’re under no illusions that we have to improve.
“We have to dust ourselves off and go again for Thursday. That’s the beauty of this tournament, the quick turnaround. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
“We pretty much know what’s going to come at us from a French perspective”
“We didn’t play well, and we won. We’ll review it tomorrow morning and it’s on to the French game. It’s as simple as that. We’re not making any excuses about the performance, especially in that first half, but there was great resilience from the girls in the second half to score 24 points.
“We’re mightily relieved obviously. A win is a win but we’ve got a lot of work to do if we’re to be competitive against the French on Thursday night.”
Ireland managed a narrow 13-10 win over France at Donnybrook in the six nations but that will count for little heading into Thursday as France have been firing on all cylinders while Ireland have somewhat flattered to deceive.
Despite being below par in their opening two games, Tierney knows they Ireland will have to put a complete performance together to get the win.
“We went into the match against France in the Six Nations as complete underdogs.
“We pulled a performance out of the bag. I think that’s well within our capabilities for Thursday. We have to really look after our jobs and the basics. We’re going to build it up nicely for a real crack.
“We’ve got a plan in palace. We pretty much know what’s going to come at us from a French perspective. It’s going to be hugely physical, it’s going to be hugely confrontational, they’re going to huge the full width of the field. We’ve just got to dust ourselves off.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good in these pool stages.”
The structure of the groups mean that only the three group winners qualify for the semi finals. With the best placed runner up also making it through. It promises to be an epic struggle at the UCD Bowl on Thursday evening for the host nation.