Ireland coach Adam Griggs praised the impact of Hannah Tyrrell and debutant Dorothy Wall after his side made a victorious return to Women’s Six Nations action.
Fly-half Tyrrell slotted two conversions in her first start of this year’s Championship as Ireland beat Italy 21-7 in Dublin, while Wall lived up to her name with a solid display in the pack on debut.
“I thought Hannah grew into the game really well,” Griggs told RTE.
“She started making some good decisions on the ball, which we’ve seen in training from her, and now it’s about her getting more comfortable at this level.
“It’s always a step up in a Test match and she played well.
“In the pack, Claire (Molloy) did really well and Dorothy Wall was outstanding.”
Molloy marked her 70th international cap with Ireland’s second try, following an earlier score by Lindsay Peat, as the hosts recovered from Melissa Bettoni’s early try to lead 14-7 at the interval.
A late penalty try ensured Ireland wrapped up their third home win of the Championship but Griggs earmarked several areas in which he hopes to see improvement from his side.
“The set piece is obviously a big one for us,” he said.
“We grew into it throughout the game but if you’re not winning that set piece it becomes a bit of a battle for us.
“The other thing is our game management, understanding when it is on to play.
“We want to play with tempo, we showed in patches that we’re really good, but you got to earn that right and it’s not only always on to do that. We just need to make sure we manage the game a little bit better.”
Saturday’s win was Ireland’s first international action since February and while there was some rustiness early on, they can now look ahead with confidence to next weekend’s Championship conclusion against France.
Ireland could finish second should they overcome Les Bleues, who take on Scotland on Sunday, and Griggs is expecting a tougher assignment in Round 5.
“I think it certainly showed in the first 20 minutes for us that we haven’t played rugby for a long time; that was pretty scrappy throughout,” Griggs said.
“The positive is we said we wanted three wins, we got those three wins. Now we have a bigger challenge next week to look forward to.
“We’ve got to take this for what it is. It’s great to get back in the Championship and as we said, we wanted the win. Now this group will be much better off for it.
“We get to regroup and go again so I’m expecting a bigger performance.”