The chips were down in Donnybrook late Sunday afternoon as Ireland were camped in their own 22 with the clock in the red and Scotland on the momentum, just one try from victory.
Linda Djougang had made her first start for Ireland earlier in the day but was withdrawn from the action in place of the experienced Leah Lyons after 54 minutes.
However, shortly after Béibhinn Parsons’ wonderful intercept try, Lyons received a yellow card for repeated Irish indiscipline as Scotland went over the try line to leave the score at 18-14 and set up a grandstand finish at Energia Park.
Djougang re-entered the fray in the dying moments with Ireland under the cosh and desperately needing bodies in the pack to see out the win. Scotland pushed and pushed in the dying moments of the game but it was the Cameroon native turned Irish front-row forward who came up with goods, turning over possession to clinch a vital win for Adam Griggs’ side.
Following the game, Griggs demeanour was one of relief, however, when the conversation turned to Djougang, you could hardly wipe the smile from his face.
“She’s one of these props, she’s got a bit of everything,” Griggs said.
“You certainly need that in the style we want to play. I thought she was really good now. She’ll certainly be the first one to say that set-piece is a continuing work-on for her, but she gives you around the field.
“You saw her in the loose. We want to play that style, we want to have her on the ball and running hard. Again her defence, it’s not often she’ll miss a tackle. I’m delighted for her to come through with one of her first starts and actually lay the platform for us to get going. Delighted for her.”
Djougang’s game-winning turnover was one of a number of big moments for Ireland on Sunday, however, what made her big-game moment more impressive was that her race had already been run.
However, when reflecting on the play that won the game, the tighthead prop admitted that mentally she was always switched on because you have to be at this level.
“When you come out, you never just settle. You know something, anything could happen. It’s rugby. You always have to be ready to go. We got the yellow card, so they needed me, my team needed me. I was ready for that.
“And we were on our 22, so mentally you have to be switched on.
“It was fantastic. That feeling, you can’t ever describe that. We had just lost one player. After the scrum, they got a penalty. We were under pressure.
“I realised, you know what, that was our moment. We had to get the ball, take it back. It was everything about, for me to win it for the team and for the team to get the win.”
However, Djougang admitted that at first, she wasn’t sure if she won the penalty or not.
“I didn’t really know until I heard the screaming.
“When I saw her (referee) hand pointing towards us, I was so happy. The game was finished and I was so happy. For me to be able to do that, to make that impact, I was really happy.”
Next up for Djougang and Ireland lies a tough Test match against a Welsh side looking to bounce back from last week’s defeat at home to Italy.
Having played against Wales before, Djougang is well aware of what lies ahead on Sunday.
“Wales is a really challenging team, like all of the teams. It is always important for us to know what we can do and stick to our game plan, go out there and show what we can do.
“It is going to be a great fight. I’m really looking forward to it.”
However, one thing Ireland are sure to have on their side is the support of the home crowd who continue to create a huge atmosphere each team this team takes to the field.
“It is amazing to have the home advantage, especially in those last minutes when you are in trouble.
“They cheer you on, give you that energy when your lungs are bursting, your body is screaming. You just have that extra adrenalin to go on.
“It is unreal the energy you get from the crowd. You can’t describe it. You have to be there to experience it. And we have it three times this year. We have to win those, starting with Wales. That is all we are focused on.”