Ireland put themselves back in the hunt for automatic qualifictaion for the Rugby Wolrd Cup with a 15-7 win over Italy.
Tries from Beibhinn Parsons and Munster’s Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, who sped over for her third score in two games against Italy, have put Ireland right back in the mix.
Six Munster players featured on the day for Ireland as they responded from the surprise loss to Spain in the opening round of qualifiers.
It is extremely tight at the top of the table with all four teams sitting on five points. Points difference separates them, with Italy (+17) in first place, closely followed by Ireland (+7), Spain (-4) and Scotland (-20).
Speaking after Ireland’s first win of the tournament, captain and UL Bohs star Ciara Griffin said:
“There was pressure on us. We had a very good talk about pressure and how we use it, and how you can use pressure for your advantage and how you should take the pressure as a pleasure at times.
“We met that pressure well this week. The job is obviously not done, it’s just we’re one step closer. So, big push and massive focus this week, starting tomorrow.”
Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster); Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster), Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Blackrock College/Connacht); Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster); Laura Feely (Blackrock College/Connacht), Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/Connacht), Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster), Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt).
Replacements used: Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster) for Feely (54 mins), Claire Molloy (Wasps/IQ Rugby) for McMahon (58), Emily Lane (Blackrock College/Munster) for Dane (65), Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/Ulster) for Griffin (72), Enya Breen (UL Bohemians/Munster) for Flood (78). Not used: Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster), Leah Lyons (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby), Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby).
Scotland also rebounded from an opening round defeat, edging out Spain 27-22 in a thrilling contest. In next Saturday’s final round, Italy play Spain before Ireland renew rivalries with the Scots (kick-off 5pm Irish time).