CAPTAIN Siwan Lillicrap has vowed that Wales will come out fighting against the Irish after an opening weekend nightmare in the Six Nations.

Wales were brushed aside 53-0 by France in Vannes with Caroline Boujard scoring an early hat-trick of tries.

The Montpellier wing Boujard set the tone when she went over after only two minutes, with Pauline Bourdon successfully converting all of her teammate’s early scores as well as slotting over a penalty to put France 24-0 ahead.

Agathe Sochat added another converted try before half-time as the hosts went into the interval leading 31-0.

Emeline Gros crossed for another two tries in the second half before Emilie Boulard and Laure Touye scored late on to complete France’s comprehensive victory.

The opener was always going to be a tough start to the reign of Warren Abrahams but the manner of the defeat hurt.

Skipper Lillicrap says they need to respond swiftly against Ireland at Cardiff Arms Park on Saturday.

“There was plenty of spirit, effort and positive attitude, but it was a difficult evening. What we must do now is trust the process and our systems and take a look at ourselves,” said Lillicrap.

“That type of scoreline is tough to accept, and there is no hiding from that. There is a lot of emotion in the squad.

“We have to trust in what Warren (Abrahams) and the management are trying to bring in because it is exciting and it is a change.

“Things don’t happen overnight and we will learn from this and take a good honest look in the mirror and fix things.

“We have got to front up and get a platform to give ourselves some opportunities to attack against Ireland.

“The positive thing is we saw glimpses of that, but the challenge is to find a way to move forward and be consistent with it.

“Things don’t change overnight, just look at the men’s team this year from last. We have to trust what Warren is bringing to the squad and buy into it because it is a fresh style.

“Things have been hard with the pandemic, but the unity and culture within the squad, and how close we are as a group of players, is like never before.

“It is so important we stick together and keep fighting and believing so we can see a change.

“We didn’t want a score like that and there is nobody more gutted than us. We will take a long, hard look at ourselves and we will be back fighting, I can assure you of that.”

It was a disappointing first game in charge for Abrahams but the South African insists there is plenty to build on ahead of the home encounter against the Irish.

“The French played some pretty incredible stuff and we congratulate them for that. There were some incredible moments for us, but also some lessons to be learned,” he said.

“If we want to compete against the best teams in the world then we have got to go back to the drawing board and step things up, but the effort and attitude was outstanding.

“We knew France were going to be tough because they have proven themselves over a number of years. The squad is in a great place. We know where we are in our journey and we will keep building.”

Defending champions England had earlier opened the shortened championship with an emphatic 52-10 win over Scotland.