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Sene Naoupu: Ireland are capable of competing with the best

Naoupu

“We’re capable of competing with the best.”

Sene Naoupu is adamant that Ireland are well able to compete with the likes of England and France despite their recent one-sided results against them.

Ireland got their 2021 Women’s Six Nations campaign off to the perfect start on Saturday as they ran riot against Wales in Cardiff to claim a thumping 45-0 win.

This Saturday’s game against France should prove to be a far greater challenge for Ireland, as Les Bleus ran out 47-17 winners the last time the two played each other in Dublin.

Sene Naoupu: Ireland can beat the best teams in rugby.

Ireland centre Naoupu was speaking at the launch of Guinness’ ‘Never Settle’ campaign and insisted that her team were capable of beating the best sides in international rugby.

“We’re capable of competing with the best. We are. We’ve believed that and we’ve been working extremely hard. We have world-class coaching, world-class facilities, we’re well resourced,” Naoupu said.

“We’ve had time [together], that has given us that sense of belief in what we can do, but again we just need to test it against the best in the world, so we are looking forward to that exact opportunity this weekend.”

‘We’ve had to be adaptable this whole time.’

Ireland’s game against France is currently under some doubt after the government announced that visitors from France would have to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine on arrival into the country.

The women’s international rugby schedule has experienced massive amounts of upheaval as a result of the pandemic, but Naoupu insisted that Ireland are only focused on themselves in light of the uncertainty.

“We’ve had to be flexible and adaptable this whole time, the group is pretty resilient. We’ve all been working extremely hard for each other and for those who have been supporting us all this time. So it’s one of those things,” Naoupu explained.

“Ciara Griffin, our captain, said it best when she said it’s the most resilient group we’ve ever been a part of because of the challenges we’ve had to face.

“Certainly this is no different, and again, we’re just focusing on what we can control this week and then the challenge ahead for the weekend.”

Sene Naoupu: ‘We know we can be much better than we were.’

While the Women’s Six Nations normally takes place at the same time as the men’s tournament, this year’s championship started after the men’s championship, which has brought more attention to the women’s game.

Naoupu was delighted to see the effects of the added attention placed on this year’s championship, believing it to be an important step in growing the women’s game.

“After playing Wales, we got messages and people speaking about the males in the household being really impressed about women’s rugby and our squad and those sorts of things,” Naoupu commented.

“As a team, we know we can be much better than what we were, absolutely we had some special moments but there are other areas of our game we can be better.

“But at the same time, to have the conversations in the households not just from those who are already converted and who are already women’s rugby fans, but also the males in the house, that’s also really important too because we need them as champions.”

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