Ireland captain Nichola Fryday began her post-match media duties after the loss to England with a touching message to the family and friends of Kate Moran, who tragically passed away last week following an incident in a camogie match.
I’m just going to start off by saying the squad’s condolences are with Kate Moran’s family this week,” Fryday said.
“It was a tragedy that happened in Galway and we just want to let her family and friends that we’re all thinking of them at this time.
“To move onto the game, I’m extremely proud of the girls, especially that first half performance. We really brought it to England for that first 40 minutes and then they showed that they’re world-class in that second half.
“You can’t question the girls’ fight throughout that whole match and I’m extremely proud of that.”
Head coach Greg McWilliams refused to look for excuses after his side were on the end of a 69-0 thumping.
Shorn of seven players due to Sevens commitments, as well as another two out injured, McWilliams could easily have pointed to the fact that Ireland essentially had one hand tied behind their backs when facing the best team in the world.
Although they only led 10-0 at the break, England ran riot in a blistering second-half display, as they scored 11 tries and kept Ireland scoreless in the process.
The reality is, Ireland will be without the Sevens players for next week’s Six Nations finale against Scotland in Belfast, while another two backs, Eimear Considine and Nicole Cronin, were forced off injured at Welford Road this afternoon.
Despite the heavy defeat, McWilliams opted against using the frustrating Sevens clash as a reason for Ireland coming up so short.
“We try to not really think about that because I trust the group of players we have,” McWilliams said.
“At the end of the day, the scoreline… it was up front. There’s not too many Sevens players that were in a scrum or lineout. They were just so dominant physically.
“They’re really impressive as a group of players who train professionally and have been doing for essentially three years. Talking to Simon (Middleton), the England coach, after, he thought that was the best contest he’s had in a long time, which gives us great hope.
“Can we go and do that for 80 minutes now? We did it for a half and I think it shows there is maybe a fitness and power difference between the two. All we can do now is go back to the drawing board and make a plan that’s going to make us better and be able to compete more.”