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Rugby - 21. August 2010.

England players’ reaction to their 27-0 victory over Ireland in Women’s Rugby World Cup opener


England and Saracens flanker Maggie Alphonsi said: “We won but we still need to work on a few things. Our next game is Kazakhstan so we need to go out and produce the goods. No game is comfortable in this tournament. There are 11 other great teams.

“To play Ireland in our first game was what we needed. They gave us a good run for our money and if anything it’s made us more aware of what we need to improve on. Coming up we play Kazakhstan which will be a tough game. They’re a physical squad and they obviously will have done their homework on us.

“We haven’t played Kazakhstan many times but regardless of that we've got to start looking at ourselves, looking at today and looking at what we can improve on and not focus so much on them.

“I enjoyed today but it wasn’t just me putting in the hits. If I look at the whole team everyone worked very hard physically. Heather Fisher had a great game in the forwards and the rest of the pack was brilliant and the same with the backs. There are loads of people I could pull out and say were brilliant. On a personal and team level I’m really pleased.”

Wasps and England prop Claire Purdy said:“As we expected it was tough. Ireland have got a really good forward pack and their backs as well were just fighting for everything so it was a hard fought game. We got the four points that we wanted but it was a hard fought game.

“It was definitely a physical match. We had a game plan in our mind and we tried to play that. We knew that we’d have to compete at the ruck so basically we had to get the numbers there or Ireland were going to turn over the ball which they did on a number of occasions. Going forward we need to look at that and see how we can make improvements into the next game.”

England and Saracens hooker Amy Garnett said: “It was a very good game. Ireland put up a great fight. A lot of things didn’t go to plan for us, but there were problems solved out there. We still have lots to work on but game on, done!

“It was a very physical game. The score doesn’t reflect the game at all. Ireland put up a really good fight but it’s one down so now we have to get ready for the next one.”

England and Wasps lock Jo McGilchrist said: “It was a really good game. It was pretty fast paced and a little bit manic. We needed to control it a little bit better but generally it was pretty good. We dominated in the scrum.

“We were quite comfortable at the set piece and definitely in the scrums. We felt very dominant there, but in the lineout we struggled a bit at the beginning but it got better and I definitely felt comfortable with it.

“It was a tough game around the park. Ireland are always really physical. They’ve got some big players so it was definitely a tough game and it took it out of us. We could have done better at breakdown. We could have mauled it more or kept it in a bit tighter to really commit all their forwards and give some more space out to our backs.”

England and Worcester full back Danielle Waterman said: “I feel really pleased. Ireland were a fantastic team. They didn’t stop until the end. It’s great that we’ve managed to get the bonus point and we’re just looking forward to Kazakhstan now.

“The first game of a big tournament will be nervy. There’s been a lot of media which was fantastic for us, but I think we just needed to settle into it. There were errors and there were always going to be, but hopefully we can work on those and put them right for the Kazakhstan game.

“It was a very physical game. Ireland were fantastic. They put in some really good hits, individually and as a team in defence. So all credit to them but I’m really pleased that we came away with keeping it nil on their scoreboard.”

England and Bristol prop Sophie Hemming said:“It was a really good game and really physical. We know that Ireland would bring their best game to us and they didn’t disappoint there. I feel really tired now and I’m looking forward to getting a good night’s sleep! But I’m really pleased to get a good win and get a bonus point which is what we wanted to do today.

“We knew that Ireland would bring everything to us in the scrum and at the breakdown which they did, but we’ve obviously been working on those areas. There are a few sore bodies now, but we had the ice bath after the game and we have our pool recovery tomorrow so I’m sure that will sort out all the aches and bruises!”

England and Worcester wing Katherine Merchant said: “I found the game really tough. It was a very fast-paced game. Ireland were awesome and it was a really tough challenge but I enjoyed it.

“It’s great to score a try but being on the wing you’re just more likely to get there so it was a great team try and it’s just nice to finish it off!

“I’m not really thinking about the next game. I’m just settling down now. It’s nice to have the first game out of the way and to move onto the next one so I’m just really happy about that.

“We knew Ireland were going to be tough. We knew it from the start. Every game we’ve played against them has been a tough game so we expected nothing less.”

England and Team Northumbria prop Rochelle Clark said:“It was an awesome game. It was really physical. The Irish were amazing. It was really good to get the first game under our belts so happy days.

“It was really good to get the bonus point and it sets the precedent to build on that for Kazakhstan and move forward so we’re really pleased.

“I think our set piece went really well and I’m pleased with the performance. The whole team performed well. There are a few things we need to iron out and a few errors to work on but otherwise I’m really pleased with the performance.

“Ireland are always physical. I’m really pleased to have had a good, physical, hard game early doors and I think that will set us up well for the rest of the tournament.”

England and Darlington Mowden Parks fly half Katy McLean said: “It was a good game. You always know that the first game is going to be manic and that certainly lived up to expectations but we did what we needed to do. We made sure we got our win and we got our bonus point but the Irish made it so difficult for us today. That was certainly the best Irish side I’ve ever played against. They put us under so much pressure in our backline and they kept the ball really well so we took our opportunities when we could get them. It would have been nice to get a couple more tries but we did what we set out to do which was good.

“It was tougher than we expected. The first game of a world cup is stressful and with it being on home soil we definitely knew the pressure was on us and Ireland came out all guns blazing. They really battered us and I can definitely say that I feel sore now and I’m not looking forward to how I’ll feel in the morning!”

England and Richmond centre Rachael Burford said:“I feel really relieved that the first game is out of the way. We’ve got some things to work on still but it was a really good game for us. 27-0 is always a positive.

“It was really tough. The Irish put up such a great fight. They never gave up. Fair play to them and fair play to the England girls.

“It’s such a massive occasion and the atmosphere was fantastic with all the fans there for both Ireland and England. It was quite intimidating to go out there and play in this world cup. We’ve all been dreaming about this for years and for it to be here we’ve got to try keep cool, calm and steady and hopefully use this as a building block for the next stage.”

England Captain and Bristol No. 8 Catherine Spencer said:“I feel really pleased to come through the game and get the bonus point which was really important for us.  Obviously the first job was to win which we did. It was a really tough game.  I think that’s the hardest Irish team I’ve ever played against and I’ve played them many times. We knew it was going to be hard and they really came at us but our defence held firm.

“We managed to push their lineout quite well which is always a big feature of their game and they’ve always used that as a great tool before so I’m really pleased with our lineout defence and the pressure we put on them.

“I’m absolutely shattered, I have to be honest. We’ve been talking about this for so long. There’s been such a big build up to this game. It was a bit jittery to start with, but we got into the game and played our way into it and it’s a big relief to come through the game and get a bonus point. Now we can think about Kazakhstan.” 

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