THE USA kept their winning touring record intact with a 23-5 victory over Ireland at Thomond Park on Wednesday night.
Ireland led 5-3 at the break with scrum half Tania Rosser, who was at the heart of every Irish attack in that first half, the scorer for Ireland. Number eight Joy Neville moved the ball right from a scrum, twenty minutes in, and linked up with Rosser, who scythed through a couple of tackles to score in the corner. The USA replied with a penalty from centre Pam Kosanke.
Rosser s attacking instincts were superb throughout, as she led Ireland forward at almost every opportunity and she was a handful for the USA s fringe defenders who too often found themselves at the end of some nifty footwork from the Leinster scrum-half.
Most impressive for Ireland was their strength at scrum time against a hugely physical American pack. Another plus was their steely defence, an aspect of their game which has let them down in the past, and it was this defensive wall that helped keep the visitors from making any sustained attack in that first period. For the visitors number 8 Tina Nesberg was on form with some storming runs while centre Patty Jervey also caused plenty of problems with her strength in mid-field.
Ireland got the second half off to a fantastic start when Orla Brennan was just short of the line following some top class continuity play but a start that had promised so much, was cancelled out when the USA scored four times in ten minutes when first Kosanke knocked over a penalty and then right wing Laura Cabrera touched down in the corner when fullback Heather Hale exposed a huge hole in Ireland s mid-field.
Ireland had only themselves to blame for conceding another try minutes later when Rosser looked for her outhalf to clear her lines and the ball back bounced back off centre Patrique Kelly, who found herself well out of position behind the scrum and the USA flashed it wide for Jervey to score.
Cabrera was over the line again when she collected a lucky bounce and the conversion left it 21-5 to the visitors.
The two sides will square up again later this year, as they are also paired together at the Women s World Cup in Canada later this year.
Scorers Ireland: T Rosser 1 try,
Ireland: J O Sullivan (Lichfield), N Ni Chaidhan (Galwegians), L Cantwell (Trojans),P Kelly (UL Bohemians), S Fleming(Cooke), SJ Belton (c) (UL Bohemians), T Rosser(Blackrock), F Coughlan (vc) (UL Bohemians), J Lonergan(Shannon),M Barrett (Highfield), C Mahon (UL-Bohemians), G Healy (Blackrock), O Brennan (Blackrock), R Boyd (Cooke), J Neville (Shannon)
A Greensmith (for J O Sullivan 55) G Davitt (for S Fleming 60), L Beamish (for T Rosser 60), S Ryan (for C Mahon 55)
USA Eagles: P Kosanke 2 pens 1 con, P Jervey 1 try, L Carbrera 2 tries,
H Hale (Atlanta), L Cabrera (Berleley All Blues), P Jervey (Atlanta), P Kosanke (Chicago North Shore), T Henry (New York), A Collier (New York), M Wallace (Berkeley All Blues), K Aerts (Atlanta), J Joyce (Austin), J Crouse (Berkeley All Blues), S Barth (Colorado), A McDonald (Minnesota), T Nesberg (Berkeley All Blues), L Knight (New York)
Replacements: D Miller (for K Aerts 40 mins) , M Ottens (for T Henry 50 mins) , K Cox (for S Barth 50), K Baja (for H Aerts 50)
E Carater, K Cox, C Braymer, K Baja, A English
Referee: L Colgan (MAR)