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Scott Bemand: 'Shell-shocked' Ireland will learn from England defeat

By Martyn Thomas
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 20: Players of Ireland line up during the National Anthems prior to the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2024 match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium on April 20, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Scott Bemand admitted Ireland were “a bit shell-shocked” during their 88-10 defeat to England at Twickenham but he insists they will learn from the experience.

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Ireland arrived in London on a high having beaten Wales convincingly seven days ago to ignite their hopes of earning a top-three Guinness Women’s Six Nations finish and qualification for both WXV 1 and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025.

However, in front of 48,778 fans, England wrapped up a try bonus point within 19 minutes and ended the match having crossed the Irish line 14 times.

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It will be a tough defeat to take for the visitors but they must raise themselves quickly with  a pivotal match against Scotland to come in Belfast next Saturday.

“Tough day at the office,” Bemand told reporters. “But where the group was, where we’re moving towards, we’ll take our learnings.

“We said at the beginning [of the Championship] that whether we’re winning or losing, we’re learning and we genuinely mean that.

“They’re an honest group, fantastically honest, so we’ll look hard at it, and we’ve got a really big game to get excited about next week.

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“So, we came up against England, who are probably the market leaders at the moment with an occasion that we’ve got to learn to play and we’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll come back better for it next week.”

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Bemand believes the experience could prove beneficial for his squad in the long-term.  “At times we probably looked a bit shell-shocked,” he said.

“The age profile of this group and the experience of this group, they’ll take a massive amount of learnings from that. It’s about applying and still being confident to apply it next week against Scotland.”

Bemand added: “Now they’ve experienced it, it’s another notch, another step.

“I’ve got every confidence in their ability to learn from it and the momentum that we’d gained over a month in camp and the games previous to this doesn’t dissipate in one performance.

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“We’ve got a great opportunity next week so we’ll front-foot it.”

England pulled the Irish defence apart at will at times during a blistering 80-minute performance at Twickenham.

But Bemand insisted the reasons for the Irish defeat went deeper than missed tackles. “Momentum in rugby is a thing,” he said.

“There’s a piece around breakdown, there’s a piece around fast ball and they put themselves in positions to make our tackles harder.

“So, it’s never just about the defence, it’s not just about communication, there’s pieces before that around how you gain momentum in defence and how they gained momentum in attack.

“And look they won that battle today, which made it look like we were slightly easier to break at points.

“Look, we’ve come second best today but we won’t dwell on it long. The group’s shown me enough over the past few weeks that we’ve got the ability to put our game out there.”

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