Ireland lost out to Wales today in their opening game of the 2023 Women's Six Nations Championship, by a score of 5-31, in stark contrast to the 0-45 drubbing Ireland dished out to Wales in 2021.
The first-half in particular laid out the harsh reality the Irish team find themselves in; under funded and under supported by the IRFU for years - a situation which is slowly improving with professional contracts - and missing many of their best players who are with the 7s team.
They faced a Welsh side who are 18 months into professionalism, and were beaten in every single facet of the game in the first 40.
Most of the Wales team ply their trade in the Premier 15s in England, while the majority of the Ireland team play their rugby in the AIL.
In the RTE studios, ex-player and pundit Lindsay Peat highlighted the importance of this and playing regularly at a higher club level, and used Ireland captain and try scorer Nichola Fryday - who plays for Premier 15s leaders Exeter - as an example.
Nichola Fryday, I look at her and the improvement in her technical skills, her speed, her speed of thought.
She has had such an improvement since her move to Exeter and has cemented her starting place in a really really exceptional club team over there.
And that's where we want to highlight the investment, how players can thrive in a high pressure environment with really high calibre players around them.
Six Nations: Ireland Have A Tough Day At The Office Against An Excellent Wales Team
Ireland are finally on the scoreboard as the TMO intervenes to allow Nichola Fryday’s try.
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"Ireland have positives, but they do need time to transition and develop, and they are lacking, like Fiona Coughlan said, that match practice under high pressure situations to make good decisions and really test their skillset," continued Peat.
"And I think Wales should be an example of where we can go and actually surpass that."
If there were any positives to take from the game it is that Ireland drew the second-half 5-5, but it is little to take away from the match given the utter dominance of Wales.
Ireland's next fixture is against France on Saturday April 5 at Musgrave Park (kick-off 3.15pm).