IRELAND captain Fiona Coghlan has praised her team’s performance following their momentous victory over world champions New Zealand yesterday in Marcoussis, Paris.
Philip Doyle’s side claimed a 17-14 victory over The Black Ferns, who won the last four tournaments and had not lost a World Cup game since a defeat to the United States in the 1991 semi-finals.
"It's huge, New Zealand are a team we respect, we've watched and probably learnt a lot from over the years," said Coghlan.
"They're the top of the world, that's where we said we wanted to be. We're not there yet, this is only step two of the process and we're on the right track.
"It was a bit frantic at times, but we took control of the game in the last 20 minutes. We knew they were going to come back strong, but we settled things down and really took control of the ball in the last four minutes. It was all about control.
"The heads never dropped. Even when they went ahead, we knew what we were going to do. All credit should go to the coaches, the analysis team and the game plan they gave us.”
New Zealand's Selica Winiata scored the opener, but Ireland responded through Heather O’Brien and Alison Miller who made a crucial try in the 63rd minute.
Niamh Briggs converted both tries and kicked a penalty in the second half at 14-14.
Coghlan believes that Ireland can go on to achieve further success in the competition, building on the confidence that they gained after winning their first ever women's Six Nations title in their Grand Slam winning season last year.
"This was a huge game, we knew coming into this that we were playing against the world champions but the girls were confident, we knew we had the ability and it was just being consistent for the 80 minutes and we were.
“It's absolutely wonderful to win against the world champions. Tonight we'll go out and enjoy a beer, then tomorrow we'll start getting ready again for Kazakhstan."
Ireland face Kazakhstan, who yesterday lost 47-7 to the United States, in Saturday's final Pool B game.