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Griggs salutes Ireland's bonus-point triumph

Ireland 31 Wales 12


Touch down: Ireland’s Linda Djougang scores a try against Wales

Touch down: Ireland’s Linda Djougang scores a try against Wales

�INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Touch down: Ireland’s Linda Djougang scores a try against Wales

This was more like what coach Adam Griggs had in mind as Ireland produced the best performance of his tenure for this Women's Six Nations tie at blustery Energia Park yesterday.

"We asked for more focus in staying on task. I certainly think we did that for longer periods," said Griggs after Ireland's second victory, which moved them to nine points. "You can just see the potential in the girls. They have a really good understanding of how we want to play now.

"The trick is to keep that up when teams pressure us."

Ireland were struggling for rhythm and possession until a moment of brilliance from Beibhinn Parson changed the complexion of the game.

Then, out of nothing, Ireland struck from Eimear Considine's kick from defence which the wind swept infield.

Aoife McDermott and Ciara Griffin swallowed up Joyce and the pressure caused a loose kick from Welsh scrum-half Keira Bevan, which Parson picked up on the bounce and beat three defenders for a remarkable try.

"Beibhinn really got us going. She has been phenomenal for us," said Griggs. "We needed that to give us a kick."

The team difference came in Ireland's superior handling, limiting the mistakes. Sene Naoupu's half-break was all hooker Cliodhna Moloney needed to come onto the ball at pace and, one fend later, she was over for Claire Keohane to convert for 12-0.

It was accurate passing on the short side that enabled Lauren Delany to come off her right foot and accelerate away from the cover for a third touchdown on 34 minutes.

On review, Welsh prop Gwenllian Pyrs was binned for a high hit on captain Griffin in the build-up, giving Ireland every reason to chase the bonus point

Instead, Wales benefited from Bevan's quick tap for full-back Lauren Smyth to steal over for 17-5 right on half-time.

Ireland got down to work for Linda Djougang to power home for the bonus point, Keohane converting in the 43rd minute.

There was food for thought when Bevan hit Siwan Lillicrap with a flat pass for Wales' second almost straight away, Wilkins adding the conversion for 24-12.

"When that wind and rain came, I actually thought we managed the game really well. It was probably the best I've seen us adapt to the conditions," said Griggs.

"The way we tightened up and were still able to get go-forward was impressive."

Ireland forced a penalty try from a front-foot scrum as the final whistle blew.

Ireland: E Considine (A Doyle 64); L Delany, S Naoupu, M Claffey, B Parsons; C Keohane (L Muldoon 69), K Dane (N Cronin 66); L Peat (L Feely 70, AM O'Hora 79), C Moloney, L Djougang, A McDermott (C Cooney 57), J Bobbett, C Griffin (capt, D Wall 61), E McMahon, A Caplice.

Belfast Telegraph