Captain Ciara Griffin dismissed claims that Ireland’s defeat to France was a ‘one-sided’ affair despite being on the end of a 56-15 scoreline in Dublin.
Caroline Boujard took her 2021 Women’s Six Nations try tally to five from two matches as her double contributed to an eight-try showing for a France side who will face now England in the Super Saturday final.
Hookers Cliodhna Moloney and Emma Hooban each scored maul tries for Ireland who, despite a positive opening, struggled to repel the French attack.
Griffin’s side now have the third/fourth place play-off to contend with against either Scotland or Italy, who meet in Glasgow on Saturday evening.
“We can’t lie, it is a disappointed dressing room but we must look at the bigger picture,” said the captain. “It doesn’t finish now and we have next weekend, the preparation and recovery for that starts now.
“It is not the result we wanted but we will learn from that. I can’t agree with the term one-sided because we fought, this group is on a journey and there is a bigger picture involved.
“We need to finish strong, we have a big summer ahead of us and this is the next step up to the top.
“We have third place to play for, we want to win. A lot of the things are fixable and a lot are compounded by our own errors as well.”
France were quick out of the blocks at Energia Park, with Boujard, Emilie Boulard, Cyrielle Banet and Safi N’Diaye all scoring, while Ireland also conceded a penalty try.
Romane Menager, Boujard and Banet maintained the second-half pressure as Ireland’s positives from their opening victory over Wales quickly evaporated.
But finishing in the top half of this year’s adapted Women’s Six Nations by winning on Finals Day next weekend remains a key target for head coach Adam Griggs.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge and we didn’t help ourselves, we compounded a good few errors. Their first two tries came from mistakes and we have to learn from that,” he said.
“We were guilty of playing in our half too much and a side like France will make you play for that and they did.
“I think this group will get better with more games we have and what we didn’t get was the line speed and pressure on the defence.
“We had to work really hard in the contact area and that can really take it out of your defensive line as well. But that’s what you get when you play the French.
“We know we have glimpses of what we can do. We scored a couple of tries and we will take those positives out of it.
“Last week was a great performance but it doesn’t make you a great team. This week was a bad performance but it doesn’t make you a bad team.
“We have to make sure we take some of those positive parts from last week and the learnings from this week and build in a performance where we show we are the third best team.”