The online home of Women's Rugby

Lots done, Lots more to do.

Ireland women's rugby captain Fiona Coghlan tells us about hard-core training, injury dissapointments and team bake-offs!

By Fiona Coghlan

Where have the weeks gone?

There are just four weeks to the first games of the World Cup. The Irish Camp have been busy - we have completed four weekend camps, a training game against Scotland and midweek provincial based training.

We now have our squad of 26 travelling to the World Cup and I would imagine that it was very difficult for the coaches to narrow the squad down from 32 to 26 such has been the competition at the training weekends.

It was very disappointing for the six girls not selected and although they were upset, they continued to train hard, knowing that if anyone got injured they were next in line. We already have had our first casualty with Lauren Day breaking her wrist in our warm-up for the Scotland game. It is bitterly disappointing for a player that has worked so hard on her fitness and skills in the last year and really was impressing at training.

Lauren wont be just missed on the pitch but her personality off the pitch will be missed too. She was an integral member of the social committee and devising some random team-building games in our camps. It is little comfort for Lauren but she is young and she will have many more opportunities, definitely a player for the future.

As the door closes for Lauren it opens for prop Laura Guest, a player who really impressed in the camps. I think some of the backs are jealous of her handling skills and side-step and she now has more of an opportunity to put them to shame and try to stake a claim in match day 22!

Training has been going really well with a great buzz in the camp. I find myself at the end of each session saying is it over already?.

There is a great variety in what we are doing and some new interesting concepts being introduced. I would imagine anyone who watched some of our skill sessions thought we were mad, we were passing everything, tennis balls, golf balls, swiss balls and even shoes. It made things so much easier when we came back to using the rugby ball.

We played Scotland last weekend in a training game and although we lost I think we learned a lot from the game, we tried numerous different combinations throughout the pitch. This was to give everyone a chance to show the coaches what they could do but also to see what people offer in different positions and out of their comfort zone.

Now the coaches have given us a framework, we must now perfect it. We have two weekend training sessions left, with a one day trip to Wales to play them prior to the World Cup. We also have all our provincial mid-week training sessions which have really intensified. I think I lost a lung on the pitch last night in the most horrendous endurance session - as they say no pain no gain.

Off the pitch there is plenty going on. Our hotels are excellent and in our team rooms there is the opportunity to play table tennis, snooker or computer games and there are plenty of mini-competitions going, all very amicable and friendly!!.

But this week we are having a bake off, basically everyone has to bake/cook a healthy dessert and they will then be graded on it by the other players. I think Joy Neville came up with the idea, as it is her birthday this weekend and this is her way of having a party for herself!

Also we have been invited to the opening of the Aviva Stadium next weekend, it is really nice to be included in what will be a historical day. The stadium looks fantastic from the pictures so it will be amazing to see what it is like with a game on and a crowd, Im am sure it will live up to expectations.

It is at this time when we get our new gear that I realise how close things are.

Lots done, lots more to do.