Senior Mixed Teammates…
No matter how much you play, the pace and intensity of that first game is always a shock. I came into this tournament hampered with my calf a bit and I’d struggled to get the pitch time in over the last few weeks. Being honest I was half-dreading this first game. I couldn’t get my breath for a lot of this game, I felt I was all the time trying to catch my recovery, but the second wind never came. All you can do in that situation is dig, try do the simple things for you team, drive hard and efficiently, defend. Listen. When a teammate with more oxygen in their brain than you have, screams at you to come right, you don’t question, you go right because they probably have a much better idea what is necessary than you. We were bad in some elements during this game and good in others, but we won that important first game of the tournament. That’s a first for me. And a first win for me over Wales at the fourth attempt. Won 5-3
Scotland 1.10pm. Lost 11-8
We stayed in it and kept coming back, didn’t get disheartened, kept answering their tries. But we showed some lack of experience in dealing with that standard of attack in terms of our line defence. 11 tries is a lot to concede against any side. We need to learn quickly how to defend against this side. We’ll face them again in a couple of days. We can do. It’s an intense learning environment but it’s doable. There’s lots of intelligence in this team… lots of will. This is supposed to be a tough environment, nothing should be for free at this level and we’re at this level now.
On the other side, we scored 8 tries. That’s a lot of scores to get at this level.
You can see a few of them here, including one by myself.
Not that you should care but diving for the try hurt a bit…as I said tough environment etc. blah blah but also OUCH, it hurts!
Also another by the way, we should have scored 9 tries… but in the last couple of minutes I broke through and, luckily the cameras didn’t catch this, but I did a Dominici! I couldn’t find a link for his mishap, but basically if you have a look at this eejit playing rugby sevens you’ll get the idea of what happened.
I wasn’t even messing around! If I was trying to do a swan dive, I might even have an excuse. Anyway… moving on.
vs France 5.20pm
I love playing France. It conjours up so many memories for me of watching great French rugby teams. Players when I was young.. Serge Blanco, Sella. They seemed like players from another world compared to Ireland… and often they were in terms of rugby skills.
French flair at it’s best..
This French Touch team also played with style, good hands, lots of cuts and dummies and making huge ground in their drives hitting spaces. They were also fit, fast and crucially this was only their second game of the day. We were poor in that first half, no other word for it. We went a score up early on… and then let in three unanswered tries. Our shooters to stop their drives were poor, our own drives were poor. There was a lot of fatigue right through the team and it’s hard to lift yourself when you’re so tired and making mistakes.
Well into the second half we were 3-1 down. We dug deep, we drove, showed heart and fight and desire. Defeat here is a disaster for our first day. Late on with about 7-8 mins to go, I’d defended and then driven up to the subs box. I had my hands on my knees off the pitch, back to the game looking away from it, getting the air back in your lungs. That’s how the Australians do it, get your recovery first for one minute, then turn around and reengage with the game, getting ready to get back on the field. I didn’t turn around when I heard the shouting, kept sucking in air. I didn’t turn around when I heard the cheer. I took two more deep breaths because I knew my partner would be subbing straight off and I’m back in defending on the halfway line. I’d no idea who even scored that try. It was just time to work hard again on defence.
We won. That try put us ahead. We beat the French. 6-3 in the end. Sounds easy. But that will not to lose right through our team is something to build on. A good end to the day.
England tomorrow. My body aches but it’s a good ache.