WALES WOMEN enter the final week of this years Six Nations, as they prepare to take on a physical Ireland side.
After beating Scotland in the final minutes of last weekend’s match, hosting Ireland offers a real chance for Wales to achieve a third-place finish.
England are looking to complete the Grand Slam and France will be expected to beat Italy, given both teams’ dominance this tournament.
All this means is third place should be decided between Wales and Ireland on Sunday at the Arms Park – providing Italy don’t surprise France.
Ireland, unlike Scotland, will be much more physical opposition for Wales.
Wales scored both their tries by driving forwards over the line after a series of phases beyond the five-yard line, but this may be much harder to do come Sunday.
Against France, Ireland still managed to put 17 points on the board, which is no mean feat given Wales and Scotland combined only managed 13.
However, what the Irish have in physicality they lose in speed. France put seven tries past Ireland, most of which were running backs moves, executed with accuracy and speed.
Wales winger Jasmine Joyce will be key if they are to do the same, given her ability to slip through a side’s defence.
The story of Scotstoun
Last weekend, Scotland looked the better side for much of the game in Glasgow, with much more pace and tactical awareness than their Celtic counterparts.
The hosts scored their first try after seven minutes and kept up the pressure throughout the game, looking like they had the win when fullback Chloe Rollie romped home in the 73rd minute.
What a way to win! #WalesWomen players rush to congratulate @SiwanLillicrap and @GirlLleucu on the try and conversion that clinched their first win of this @Womens6Nations 17-15 Llongyfarchiadau merched, haeddu'r buddugoliaeth ?? #WatchHerGo pic.twitter.com/7Hz6Afm54o
— Welsh Rugby Union ? (@WelshRugbyUnion) March 8, 2019
But Wales were dogged and despite Scotland looking stronger, they refused to let their opponents get away – and that proved decisive.
Going into the final minutes of the game Wales were just five points off Scotland and camped out on their opponents’ try line.
It was Siwan Lillicrap who broke through the Scottish defence, busting tackles to dive over the line to take the scores level with the clock already in the red.
The pressure fell to number 12 Lleucu George to score the conversion to give Wales their first win of the championship.
The centre made no mistake, slotting home to give Rowland Phillips’ side a memorable win in Glasgow.
After the game, head coach Phillips said: “It wasn’t good for the ticker but it was a hell of a win in the end.
“Obviously I didn’t watch it as I was that nervous but for Llecu, an 18-year-old, to keep her composure and get that kick over to win the game for us was a fantastic feeling for us as a squad and for her as well.”
He added: “That gives us plenty of confidence going into the last week against Ireland back at home.”
- Wales Women vs Ireland Women KO: 13:30, Cardiff Arms Park, available on S4C