Stacey Flood kicked a conversion in Ireland’s narrow one-point defeat by Spain

Fly-half Stacey Flood says Ireland are preparing to “go back to basics” when they face Italy in Sunday’s must-win World Cup qualifying game in Parma.

Adam Griggs’ Irish side suffered a shock 8-7 defeat by Spain in their opening qualifier on Monday.

The top team of the four-team event qualifies for next year’s World Cup, with the runner-up entering a further qualifying tournament.

“We shouldn’t overcomplicate things but must right the wrongs,” said Flood.

“We created so many opportunities but were not able to execute. On the big occasions we need to pull the trigger, work collectively and get points on the board when we can.

“It was frustrating to create those opportunities and not come away with anything.

“We know as a team we are better than that – we didn’t show half of our potential against Spain, just a few glimpses of what we can do.

“Hopefully we can show what we are capable of against Italy.”

Ireland beat Italy 25-5 in the Women’s Six Nations in April but the Italians got their World Cup qualifiers off to a winning start when they triumphed 38-13 over Scotland, Ireland’s final opponents in the competition on 25 September.

Coming from a Sevens background, Flood has impressed in the number 10 shirt following the retirement of its previous incumbent, Hannah Tyrrell.

“I feel I am learning all the time, learning on the job,” reflected the 25-year-old.

“Fly-half is obviously a very important position but it’s not a one-woman effort. Everyone is training together, pushing each other on and learning from their peers to get better.”

‘We’re playing for the pride of the jersey now’

Wasps second row Sam Monaghan made her debut as a replacement in the loss to Spain, but says the squad has learned lessons from that unexpected reverse in hotter than expected conditions.

“We had an honest review post-Spain and have worked on what didn’t go well but we want to draw a line under that now and just move on, be positive and do the job on Sunday,” said Monaghan.

“We are focusing on our strengths and how to exploit their weaknesses.

Sam Monaghan (centre) made her Ireland debut off the bench against Spain

“We were all disappointed after the game but we came together as a team, were honest about everything and have gone through what we want to do and how we should stick to our gameplan.

“We’re playing for the pride of the jersey now and we want to go to that World Cup. It’s going to be tough against Italy but we can definitely get the better of them.

“There’s a lot of pressure on this competition and emotions are high.

“We didn’t expect the heat to be that much, it was extremely hot [on Monday], 29 or 30 degrees.

“We realise it’s still all to play for – we need to beat Italy and we’ve got each other’s backs to do what we need to do.”