Tom Tierney: We learned from Six Nations heartbreak

Tom Tierney says Ireland’s women’s team will take priceless lessons into next month’s World Cup from their Six Nations defeat to England last March.

The home side were within 10 points of the full-time English outfit at the hour mark, but by the time the final whistle went at Donnybrook, the visitors were 34-7 ahead and took the spoils in what was a Grand Slam decider.

Tournament favourites England have been kept apart from Ireland for the Pool stages at least, but Tierney insists that game could have a serious impact on how the hosts perform.

“The learnings that we took from that Grand Slam decider were worth their weight in gold, and it shaped a lot of our planning over the course of the next three months in camp in terms of putting the onus back on the players, getting the players to train at a level, and play at a level,” Tierney said.

“There was a lot of game time in those training sessions — that is going to replicate the scenarios and the situations that we had in that final game against England.

“That was worth its weight in gold. We know that we can be competitive at certain stages of a game. Now it’s about just imposing ourselves a small bit more at the critical moments. Those are the learnings that we’ve taken out of that game.

“Obviously, the atmosphere, the build-up, all the outside factors, that was a great thing to experience.

“Because again, if we play as well as we feel we should, and we can, we’re going to be there or thereabouts. It’s just about keeping ourselves focused on the job, focused on the processes of doing our job as we can, and not letting all those outside factors take over.

“We can enjoy when it’s all over, but it’s time to really focus on our job.”

The 28-woman squad will meet in Cork this Friday for a four day camp in Fota Island, before breaking up and reconvening at UCD again, days before the opener with Australia.

“The IRFU have given us everything for this tournament, we are the best prepared team heading into a World Cup in our history and we’ll take it as a one game at a time mentality,” Tierney said.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of the three games, we’ve no excuses and won’t be looking forward to anything but putting a really good performance in and doing a really good job in those games. Being at home can work positively or negatively for you, we’ve put in place plans that whatever happens will be a positive for the squad. We can use the crowd and with the tickets being sold out for all games, having pretty much full attendance at UCD, is a positive for us and we have to hold onto that.

“We want to impose our game on the opposition, not take a backwards step, so that the crowd can be a positive for us.”

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