Adam Griggs says Ireland’s women’s team will face a massive challenge to raise their game when they face France in 10 days — after three weeks without a competitive game.
Like their male counterparts, Griggs’ team beat Scotland and Wales in their opening two Six Nations fixtures, before being well beaten by England (27-0) in round three.
Their game against Italy, scheduled for this Sunday, has been cancelled along with the men’s U20 and senior games, meaning the 35 player squad will train this week instead of play.
With the trip to Lille a week later, Griggs says training will be more important than ever if they are to reach the standards that helped them overcome Wales and Scotland.
“We took advantage of the break, to be honest, the way our schedule works, we usually work on the weekend, so we were able to give the players [last] weekend off and get some downtime, and make sure they stepped away from rugby. It was quality for them to spend time with family and friends and have a down week and refresh,” he said.
“We’ve spoken about wanting test matches and playing, but we’ve also spoken about rest and recovery and how important it is for our players that have day jobs and college that they get rest and recovery.”
He continued: “We’ve a full camp this weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, that’s where we’ll really ramp things back up and put our focus on France and make sure we’re prepared to go when we get there next weekend.
“It’s going to be quite a battle to get ourselves back up with three weeks off, with no games. We felt we were really battle hardened coming off that England game, we wanted to rectify some of the chances we missed, so that’s our challenge now that we really step up in camp.”
Lindsay Peat is missing, after suffering a leg break in the England defeat, but otherwise Griggs has a loaded pack to work with.
“We’ve lost Lindsay for the Six Nations, so that’s unfortunate, and Sene [Naoupu], who was taken off in England, but her scans have come back clear so we’re hoping she’ll bounce back. For now we’ll have to monitor her and look after her health, and if she can get back it’s great, but we certainly won’t push her with the season we have coming up as well.
“We’ve got our whole squad back together now, all 35 players in for the weekend, so that’s exciting because they’ll be refreshed and that helps the group and lifts us again.”