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Belton Set For Switch To Full-Back

Belton Set For Switch To Full-Back

World Cup All-Star out-half Sarahjane Belton has no worries about her move to full-back for Ireland’s Women’s Six Nations opener against Wales on Saturday (Taffs Well RFC, Cardiff, kick-off 2.30pm).

Belton has previous experience of playing in the full-back role, most notably against South Africa and Scotland at last September’s World Cup, and the 26-year-old is looking forward to getting to grips with Wales, a team that failed to qualify for the World Cup.

“I played full-back during the World Cup and Jo (O’Sullivan) and I are well used to switching. I do enjoy playing full-back and I’m always happy playing outside her so I’m looking forward to it,” said the UL Bohemians player.

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“Whenever we play Wales it’s a tough game and they had a very successful autumn with a number of good international games. We’ve had four excellent training weekends together and even though it was a tight time frame, we feel we’re well prepared.”

Twelve months ago at Donnybrook, Belton and company fell to a 14-7 defeat at the hands of the Welsh. But the Irish skipper, who converted Germaine Healy’s try back then, is not reading too much into that game.

She insisted: “Wales are able to play a number of styles and whenever we meet them it’s a different type of game.”

Ireland coach John O’Sullivan, who takes over this season from Philip Doyle, has selected an experienced starting line-up for Saturday’s clash – there is just one new cap.

Ulster hooker Jess Limbert will make her international debut from the start, while Leinster loose forward Debbie Clarke could gain her first cap off the bench.

This seasons’s Women’s Six Nations tournament sees Italy join the fold, at Spain’s expense. The Women’s competition has now officially come under the auspices of the overall Six Nations committee.

The tournament will run in parallel with both the men’s and Under-20 campaigns and there is a new trophy up for grabs.

IRELAND WOMEN’S TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v Wales Women, Taffs Well RFC, Cardiff, 2.30pm, Saturday, February 3):

15 – Sarahjane Belton (UL Bohemians) (capt)
14 – Jeannette Feighery (UL Bohemians)
13 – Lynne Cantwell (Richmond)
12 – Shannon Houston (Blackrock)
11 – Grave Davitt (Blackrock)
10 – Joanne O’Sullivan (Richmond)
9 – Tania Rosser (Blackrock)
1 – Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians)
2 – Jess Limbert (Cooke)
3 – Marie Barrett (Highfield)
4 – Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians)
5 – Germaine Healy (Rathdrum)
6 – Eimear O’Sullivan (Clonakilty)
7 – Rachel Boyd (Cooke)
8 – Orla Brennan (Blackrock)


16 – Yvonne Nolan (Blackrock)
17 – Laura Guest (Clonakilty)
18 – Debbie Clarke (Blackrock)
19 – Sinead Ryan (Navan)
20 – Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians)
21 – Mairead Kelly (UL Bohemians)
22 – Amanda Greensmith (Shannon)