There are three changes in the Ireland Women’s team to face Scotland at Thomond Park in Sunday’s Six Nations clash (12.00) Ulster captain Rachel Reid and Waterloo wing Fiona Neary
There are three changes in the Ireland women’s team to face Scotland at Thomond Park in Sunday’s Six Nations clash (12.00) Ulster captain Rachel Reid and Waterloo wing Fiona Neary revert to the bench following 11 consecutive starts in the green jersey, along with Richmond’s Canadian-born No 8 Eryka Wessell, who made her debut in the 79-0 defeat against England at Worcester last time out.
Connacht giant Mary O’Loughlin returns to the middle of the back row after recovering from the foot injury sustained against Wales, Yorkshire-based Bridget Montgomery takes over from Reid at blindside and Lynn Cantwell of women’s AIL leaders UL Bohs, who now have six players in the team, gets a first start in place of Neary.
Injuries to Magali Dolo, Olivia Brown and Gillian McAllister mean that Wessell is retained in the squad as front-row cover, having occasionally filled in as an emergency prop for Richmond in the high-powered English Premiership this season. Joy Sparkes of Blackrock and Ulster returns to the squad following surgery, taking over on the bench from Shannon teenager Rachel Tucker.
In the absence of Reid, the place-kicking duties will pass to Munster fullback
IRELAND (v Scotland, Thomond Park, March 2): SJ Belton (UL Bohs); S Fleming (Cooke, capt), P Kelly (UL Bohs), R Boyd (Cooke), L Cantwell (UL Bohs); N
Milne (Worcester), K Eagleson (Cooke); M Coulter (Blackrock), E Collins (UL Bohs), E Coen (Highfield), M Quirke (UL Bohs), A-M McAllister (Blackrock), B Montgomery (Ripon), M O’Loughlin (UL Bohs), F Steed (Shannon).
Replacements: J Sparkes (Blackrock), F Neary (Waterloo), R Howell (UL Bohs); E Wessell (Richmond), J Lonergan, R Foley (both Shannon), R Reid (Cooke).