Ireland women's rugby team to face Japan as part of World Cup preparations

Japan are one of the side's in Ireland's pool for the World Cup

BY Sinéad Farrell 14:28 Friday 26 May 2017, 14:28 26 May 2017

Ireland captain Niamh Briggs, Head Coach Tom Tierney and out-half Nora Stapleton at the Aon Thought Leadership Series on the topic of wellbeing. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ireland will take on fellow Pool C side Japan in two uncapped games, as they continue their preparations for the Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland later this summer.

The games will follow a training week at UCD next week, which is aimed at creating a similar environment to what the players will experience during a World Cup week in August.

Speaking at the launch of Aon's Women's Rugby World Cup #JourneyToGreatness campaign, Ireland Head Coach Tom Tierney explained:

“We're going to have two uncappped games against Japan and get a good view of them. We'll be doing certain things and we won’t be doing certain things in those games but at least we'll get a feel for them.

"We try to concentrate on ourselves as much as possible, but we have to be conscious that we have to know who we're playing. We don't know much about Japan. We hope to know a small bit more based on what we see in UCD when we mimic the World Cup week.

Commenting on how the squad will prepare for their other Pool C games against Australia and France, Tierney added:

"With Australia, we'll be looking at footage on them. They're playing a Tri-Nations down south in a couple of weeks time, so we'll get footage on that. We're under no illusions.

"We've got France in the third game but we don't want to have any problems or any potential banana skins against Australia or Japan and have everything covered as best we can before we go into those games, and then focus on one game at a time."

Image: Ireland head coach Tom Tierney alongside Ireland captain and out-half Nora Stapleton pictured at the Aon Thought Leadership Series on the topic of wellbeing, which explored the link between employee health and their financial wellbeing. Picture credit - ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan.

The players are entering their second training camp this weekend, with no injury concerns to report. Captain Niamh Briggs was sidelined earlier this season with a hamstring issue, but she has made a return to the fold.

Tierney says he's enthused by how the players have responded to the intensity of the training. 

"We realise that if we want to be competitive against the very best teams, we've got to get fitter and welve got to be able to work and be skillful based on a huge amount of fatigue in our bodies. We’re trying to replicate that as best we can in training, putting the girls under as much pressure as we can or even more pressure than they’ll find at International (level).

"That'll be a good learning for them. We’re pushing them hard and we have one training camp under our belts."

The squad however, is without regular starters Sene Naoupu and Hannah Tyrrell this weekend, who are in Canada with the Ireland Sevens team for the fifth leg of the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series.

Both players - along with Alison Miller - were pulled from the Six Nations squad to go on tour with the Sevens earlier this season, a move which caused a controversial reaction.

Tierney however, says that their absence has not caused any disruption to their World Cup preparations.

"No, not at all. We're very pleased that, at the moment, there's key areas that we're working on, which would be fitness levels and core skill development.

"Everyone is pretty much on the same programme. What we try to do, is try to mimic position-specific stuff where they’ve got key areas, key core skills or key position skills that they have to work on.

"Everyone is kind of on the same page and that'll be good for them. They're getting exposure to match-intensity over in Canada and we'll try and replicate that over here in the camps."

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