I felt like a different player from yesterday. I didn’t sleep very well at all. The adrenaline was flowing though my body all night in wave after wave. I couldn’t stop visualising attack moves and moments from the games in my head. Then I felt great today when I got up, even though I’m not sure how much I slept at all. I’d plenty of energy. Getting ready for the games, unlike yesterday, I wasn’t afraid that I was going to pull up with injury at some point. And after that last quickie dive against Switzerland in the last game yesterday, I felt I’d remembered how to attack again.
Game 1 vs Portugal – Won 8-2
We weren’t on Pitch 1 today so this is the only grainy footage of one of the tries. 5th Touch, scoop on the two middles. Oldest move there is really but very effective at any level.
I scored two others as well from dives. It’s great to see that the Portuguese have developed a huge amount since I played three years ago in the Euros. They’re still a bit too much ‘rugby’ skills focused, lots of passing, stepping and running, rather than running Touch specific moves but they improved a lot.
Game 2 vs Switzerland – Won 6-1
This was our best game of the tournament so far. We prepared for and defended their M/L or 33 attack move really well. We changed how we defended it, I switched from right to left middle in defence, so I was making the touch, and cornering back. I could watch the trigger of the direction of the ball, break off my short side corner and chase the ball, push my other mid into a man-on-man so there was no overlap and no need for the link to shut, which is where we were getting destroyed yesterday. We also focused on pushing off the line harder as they were setting up their move, to take time away from them and force them to waste touches ten metres out. I scored two, one a dive from a quickie and the second off a 32.
I felt bad for all the lads I know on the Swiss team, good lads, considering what we did next. We basically made it impossible for them to reach the semi-finals.
Game 3 vs Portugal – Lost 4-3
Did this really happen? Was it a dream? Did we really just lose to Portugal? You’re tired, in the heat of the afternoon sun, straight after an intense game with Switzerland without any proper recuperation time. But still. It’s interesting how teams, our team, react when the momentum swings, when you go from a score up to a score down. Already a bit of panicking sets in, you tighten up, especially against a team you feel you should be beating, a team you’d already beaten earlier that day.
I was confident right to the end that if I got the ball in an attacking position, I’d score. For whatever reason, I didn’t really get in position.
Portugal’s first ever win in an international Touch game. I’m happy for them.
I lost my first nine international games for Ireland so I know how it feels. I score one in this game and set up one and also let in a terrible try in defence where I got lazy and stopped running. Bad.
Anyway, according to their captain, we’ll be welcome in Portugal for life so at least that’s something. That’s a lifetime supply of Pastel de Nata so.
Ultimately the loss didn’t matter in terms of our ranking going into the semi-finals tomorrow. Switzerland beat Portugal 4-3 in the last game, but ended up finishing fifth. We went though in third position and we’ll play the second placed team Wales tomorrow.
This was the one moment worth remembering from me in the first game against Wales.
Hopefully, we’ll have more to remember from the game tomorrow.
Can we beat them? Yes. Would I put money on us? How could you? We’re so inconsistent.