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'It's all to play for' – Edel McMahon relishing Ireland's World Cup showdown against Scotland – Independent.ie

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Edel McMahon
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David Kelly Twitter Email
September 21 2021 02:31 PM
Wasps’ back-rower Edel McMahon insists that Ireland are buzzing ahead of their World Cup qualification decider against Scotland this week.
And the Clare woman insists that her side’s ability to handle the pressure in last weekend’s nervy must-win encounter with Italy can get them over the line and erase the memory of an opening dismal defeat to Spain in Parma.
“We knew what pressure was on us last week, it’s part of elite sport, international rugby,” she says.
“I thought everybody dealt with the pressure well, we challenged it and used it as a catalyst to make us better.
“Our defensive game wasn’t there against Spain and that was a huge work-on for us and we set the tone from the first kick-off against Italy.
“We didn’t go into our shells or hide from it and that what will help us this weekend. We’ve held our hands up when the game-plan didn’t work or we made errors, and though it wasn’t perfect against Italy, we saw we got a reward for our effort.
“Like us, Scotland didn’t reflect what they could do against Italy and you saw how they came out of the blocks against Spain and it’s all to play for both of us this weekend.
“They want this as much as we do and they will be just as physical in defence. We just need to get our clinical edge in attack spot on and if we do that can take us over the line.”
Centre Eve Higgins is expected to keep her place in the side after the selection of her Sevens’ colleague Lucy Mulhall back-fired against Spain.
“We’ve created a lot of chances,” says the Lucan native. “We haven’t executed them. We left a few tries out there against Italy, we are not pulling the trigger.
As the Lions fallout continues and the provinces remain in the Rainbow Cup hunt, get the latest insights from our rugby correspondent Rúaidhrí O’Connor with our free weekly newsletter, ‘The Collision’.
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“We know how devastating we can be from the Six Nations so it is frustrating. We still need to right some wrongs from the Italy game in terms of taking chances.
“We haven’t played Scotland in a while so we have some work to do on them. I’d know most of the backs from the Sevens series with GB.
“Our record against them will give us confidence but we’re just focusing on our own performance.”
All four sides – Scotland and Ireland, Spain and Italy – are locked together on four points in the round-robin tournament with only the winners progressing to next year’s New Zealand showpiece automatically. The runners-up face a repechage clash against a global qualifier.
If, at the completion of the tournament, two or more Teams are level on match points, then the following criteria will be used in the following order until one of the teams can be determined as the higher ranked:
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