Analysis of the weekend action in the Vodafone Interprovincial Championship

Analysis of the weekend action in the Vodafone Interprovincial Championship Analysis of the weekend action in the Vodafone Interprovincial Championship
Neasa Kennedy

Over in Energia Park, Leinster took on Connacht with the Blues coming out on top with a 38-10 win over the western province.

Although not reflected in the scoreline, Lyndon Jones's side made Leinster work for their win, particularly during a scoreless opening 30 minutes in Energia Park.

Leinster accounted for most of the possession yet they struggled to break down a diligent Connacht defence in the early stages.

A first half blighted by knock-ons came to life during the closing minutes when Ella Roberts and Anna Doyle touched down for a previously misfiring Leinster, before Connacht's Nicole Fowley landed a late penalty.

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At half time, Leinster lead 14-3.

The second half saw further scores from Elise O’Byrne-White, Jenny Murphy (2) and Katie Whelan for Leinster and their lead was doubled to 14 points following a superb run-in from Anna Doyle from just inside her own half.

Influential prop Laura Feely lifted Connacht on the resumption, showing her breakdown skills, but again the line-out proved problematic for them

Connacht showed excellent hands to get 18-year-old newcomer Clara Barrett involved off the left wing, yet the supporting Máiread Coyne was injured in the next phase and unfortunately had to come off.

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Tania Rossier's side made sure they finished strong though with Scuffil-McCabes terrific run from a quick tap. Hannah O’Connor, Jenny Murphy and Aoife Dalton strung passes together for Katie Whelan to finish off on the right.

Aoife Dalton had a fine debut for the province and was involved in the build-up to a sixth try. Connacht were caught for numbers in defence.

On the Her Sport and Energia rugby show, Her Sport founder Niamh Tallon was joined by Irish International Hannah Tyrell who said:  "I was really really impressed by Aoife Dalton, she's quite a young player , getting her first cap for Leinster, she was lucky in that regard that she was playing outside a vastly experienced player in Jenny Murphy who I'm sure was talking to her all the time, but she was everywhere, putting in big tackles and picking the right passes"

Sisters Aoife and Sonia McDermott were also in action against each other, showcasing some epic sibling rivalry!

Down in Musgrave Park, the driving wind and rain made conditions especially difficult for the Munster v Ulster battle. However, it took Munster just 31 minutes to register their bonus point.

At half time, Munster were 22 points to Ulster's no score.

Four lost lineouts in advanced positions did little for Ulster’s confidence, with the strong wind impacting captain Beth Cregan’s throwing. It also meant they failed to capitalise on a Liston interception and her break downfield.

Munster and Old Belvedere's Deirbhile Nic a Bháird delivered a stellar player-of-the-match performance scoring two tries, making a series of rampaging runs, and also switched from number 8 to hooker for the second half, showing amazing leadership.

"She is not massive in height, sorry Deirbh! - but she uses her physicality really well and she's has a background in martial arts and she uses that to actually get over the ball and in her defensive stature, but her footwork and explosiveness off the mark is brilliant and she just refuses to go down" Tyrell said on former team-mates player-of-the-match performance.

After the game, Ulster head coach Neill Alcorn admitted his side were ‘a bit shellshocked’ and will take a lot of learnings into the next round.

We discussed all this and more in this week's Her Sport Rugby Show!

For the full recap, tune into The Her Sport Rugby Show, available on Spotify and every podcast platform, or watch it on YouTube below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMSpOXKEVRY

The Her Sport Rugby Show is brought to you in partnership with Energia. Think of the possibilities.

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