Women's Six Nations 2024: Ireland 'absolutely' on right track despite two defeats - Scott Bemand

Scott Bemand and Sam Monaghan

Head coach Scott Bemand says Ireland are "absolutely" on the right track despite losing their opening two Women's Six Nations matches.

Having lost all five games last year, the Irish have begun the 2024 campaign with defeats by France away and at home to Italy.

But Bemand says he has seen enough in the performances so far to believe wins "aren't too far away".

"We won't ever shy away, we talk about winning," he said.

"We're really comfortable with that," added Bemand, whose side next play against Wales in Cork on 13 April.

"Going away to France, it was always going to be a tough start, but we saw some green shoots and emergence of character and resilience.

"Against Italy, we produced a performance that would ordinarily produce a win. We didn't manage to get over the line in that, but we'll keep going after the confidence and the stuff we did well.

"We're pretty certain that those wins aren't too far away."

Bemand said full-back Lauren Delany will need a "couple more days" to regain fitness after she was forced off in the 27-21 loss to Italy in Dublin on Sunday.

But with Ireland on a down week, the Sale Sharks back has not yet been ruled out of the Wales game.

"Lauren picked up a bit of a bang like we reported straight after the game, she was up after the game and back on her feet," added Bemand.

"She may take a couple more days, other than that, we're two games in, two hard games and over a month of preparation and we're in pretty good health as a group."

While Ireland were not able to get over the line against Italy, Bemand - who won five Six Nations titles and four Grand Slams in eight years with the England women's side - rubbished any suggestion that his side has been held back by a lack of leadership.

Speaking after the Italy game, former Ireland international and RTE pundit Lindsay Peat said the team looked "rudderless", but Bemand hailed the "unbelievable leaders" in his ranks.

"It's always interesting what people on the sideline say, lack of leadership on the pitch when they are outside of the circle," said the Englishman.

"We've got some unbelievable leaders in our group and, look, the game looks different now to what it used to.

"We have strategy groups, we have co-captains, they are unbelievable leaders. So how quickly these girls are developing, they are already at a level way which is way beyond their years.

"They are going to keep developing experiences but as a group we absolutely buy into them and I wouldn't want any other people in those groups."