Adam Griggs and his players will have woken up this morning unsure whether a win over Scotland in the last of their World Cup qualifiers will be enough to book a stint in New Zealand for next year’s tournament.
That will change at around 4 p.m. today.
A memorable afternoon awaits us at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi in Parma. Italy and Spain will kick off at 2 p.m. Irish time, followed three hours later by the Celtic teams meeting.
When all is said and done, one of them will have done enough to start planning for 2022. Whoever finishes second will get one last stab in the very last draft. The other two will embark on dismal autopsies.
It is perfectly posed. All four are five points away after the first two rounds and, with head-to-heads determining the rankings in case of teams ending up tied on points, Ireland will be hoping they can earn a better victory strip. than anything other than a Spanish team that had their numbers in the opener can handle.
That Ireland and the Scots will know exactly what to do when their turn comes due to nothing more arbitrary than the vagaries of kick-off time is, to be bald, grossly unfair for Italians and Spaniards.
Even though Griggs disagreed.
“I wouldn’t do it because we couldn’t have put ourselves in this scenario in the games on the first weekend. It’s just how the table turned out with everyone on a win and a loss.
“So I don’t even think World Rugby would have planned such a last day. To be honest, I just think it’s luck of the draw that we play last and then we’ll get a feel for what we need to do.
Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?
Fair or not, these are the cards everyone has been given, but it would be fascinating to see what could happen if the Spaniards won with no bonus points and Ireland narrowly led Scotland over time. that was flowing.
What are you doing? Do you play safe and accept that second place and the draft is better than nothing? Or are you up for it all and go for it all with the risk of losing it all?
“We discussed these (scenarios) earlier in the week, so at this point around the captain’s run and into the game, it’s behind the backs of our minds,” said Griggs who appointed a team. unchanged from the victory against Italy. last Sunday.
“It’s probably more as a group of coaches that we’ll be keeping an eye on these things. Basically the message to the group is that we want to win this game, whether we want to finish first or second. We have to win.
It could very easily come down to tight margins. In both games.
Spain’s 8-7 loss to Ireland on day one created shockwaves here, but the first will have no inferiority complex against an Italian side they have beaten 10 times in 14 games while that two matches at the 2017 World Cup produced one victory each.
Ireland’s task seems simpler on paper. Scotland have lost 14 of the last 15 meetings between rivals Six Nations, but that one win came just three years ago in Dublin and recent games have been pretty close.
As with Griggs, Scotland coach Bryan Easson left with an unchanged 15 after rebounding from his opening loss to the Azzurri with a success with a bonus point against the hosts, and they won’t want to miss a third World Cup. world trotting.
For Ireland, failure to qualify would be nothing but an absolute disaster and another drop in the women’s ladder for a nation that reached the semi-finals in 2014 and won two Six titles. Nations in the same decade.
Limiting their opponents to just 15 points so far, including two tries, has been a plus, but they have repeatedly failed to turn possession and territory into scores and the roster has been another department that has failed. still not worked.
The victory against Italy was far from perfect, but it showed they can handle the pressure after their Iberian ignominy.
“In these competitions, every game is important,” said captain Ciara Griffin. “It’s an important game, it will define our season, our structure. It is vitally important to me and to the rest of the group.
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