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Briggs looks to positives as girls are swept aside

By Tom Rooney

The scoreboard did not reflect what had unfolded over a relentless 80 minutes at a boisterous UCD Bowl, but Ireland Women were handed their third consecutive loss of the first Autumn Series (38-8) by New Zealand.

As a beaming Joe Schmidt looked on, Ireland were trailing the Black Ferns by just 5-3 at half-time. Yet after the turn, New Zealand cut loose and scored five more tries.

Exceptional full-back Selica Winiata dotted down in each half, before centre Portia Woodman scored a magnificent hat-trick and out-half Kelly Brazier registered the sixth.

Substitute Niamh Kavanagh capped off a fine move with a try for Ireland a minute from time.

Head coach Tom Tierney will take some solace for the manner in which his side kept battling, but following the narrow loss to England, and last week's thumping from Canada, he'll have plenty of thinking to do ahead of the Six Nations.

Tierney had previously said he hoped to use the series as a means of blooding new players, while gauging his team against the top three sides in the world before next year's World Cup in Ireland.

With that in mind, captain Niamh Briggs said that the last month will stand them in good stead.

"We've learned that the best sides in the world are very clinical and will live off those mistakes. But if we keep getting around the park and matching them physicality-wise, we're a match for any side in the world," the full-back explained.

"Look at the likes of Leah Lyons, Nichola Fryday and Nicole Fowley. They have no fear, and that's what we want; they will create competition."

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