After getting their campaign off to a flying start on away soil last weekend, Ireland women’s rugby captain Ciara Griffin is relieved to be back in Energia Park for tomorrow’s Six Nations clash with France (kick-off 2.15pm).
Having matched Les Bleus in securing a bonus-point triumph against an underwhelming Wales, Ireland enter this Pool B fixture in a revamped Championship knowing another win will set up a tournament final with defending champions England next weekend.
Adam Griggs’ charges enjoyed a 100% record in the Dublin venue during 2020 and Griffin is intent on making it a game to remember for those watching at home.
“We love this surface, we love this stadium. There’s a real sense of pride when you get to run out here across that whitewash. Although it’s going to be slightly different to other times here with no crowds, we just can’t wait to get onto that pitch,” Griffin remarked at the captain’s run yesterday.
“There’s a massive support unit behind us. That comes from the width and breadth of this country, and everyone in this squad. It’s appreciated and we just can’t wait for it now again tomorrow.”
Despite the initial doubts surrounding this encounter — due to France being added to the Government’s mandatory hotel quarantine list — Griffin stressed Ireland have enjoyed a near-perfect lead-in to their last meeting with Annick Hayraud’s side.
“It has been a good week, preparation has gone well for us in terms of analysis and looking at our game. Finding areas for us to improve on for the weekend, which is great. That’s what you want. Good training session yesterday and captain’s run now today. This is a time to just run out, execute, and go over the basics. Then preparation tomorrow for the big event,” said Griffin, who lines out at No 8 for the third Test in succession.
Like the rest of the squad, Griffin is acutely aware that, in stark contrast to a struggling Welsh outfit, France will represent a considerable step-up in quality. Nevertheless, the Kerry woman insists they aren’t getting too hung up on what the visitors will bring to the table.
“We focus on us and what we can do, the performances we can put in. Obviously the French are a good side and we’ve done our homework on that, but we’re focused on us and everything we can put into this jersey,” Griffin added.