Ireland’s Women’s side got their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start last week against Italy and coach John O’Sullivan has named the same team to play France this weekend.
There are no changes to the matchday 22 from the squad that secured a 19-0 victory over Italy in Ireland’s championship opener last Friday, as Ireland seek to beat France for the first time in their history.
After a strong second half in Dublin against a tough Italian outfit, where Ireland scored 19 unanswered points, confidence will be high in the camp, though France are always at their strongest when playing at home.
They are also coming off the back of a convincing 43-15 win over Scotland last week, however they will not forget how they were pushed all the way by Ireland last year – only emerging 13-11 winners after a tight scrap in Dublin.
O’Sullivan said his side are aware of the quality that France have in their squad. He said: “We know how good a team France are and that it will be very tough for us to get a result. France, especially at home, are a very formidable outfit, and in reality last year was the closest any Irish team has come to beating them.”
He added: “We have a squad of players whose work ethic is second to none and they are improving all the time and as a consequence we have a very good team who are capable of going to France and getting a win.”
Irish captain Sarahjane Belton said travelling to France and targeting a win is one of Ireland’s priorities this season. “We need to take France this year. We came close last season but lost by a try in injury-time,” she said.
“It’s time to do it now, we’ve talked about it long enough. We have the team, the backroom staff, everything has gone very well preparation-wise so I think we’re ready to do that.”
Ireland will have no uncapped players in their matchday 22, with O’Sullivan having used his entire bench against Italy and given run-outs to debutants Gillian Bourke, Kate O’Loughlin, Louise Austin, Niamh Briggs and Amy Davis.
In other games this weekend England will look to build on their 55-0 hammering of Wales when they travel to play Italy, while Scotland visit Taff’s Well looking for their first win.
IRELAND WOMEN’S TEAM AND REPLACEMENTS (v France, 2008 RBS Women’s Six Nations, Sunday, February 10, St Gratien, Paris, 3pm):
Sarahjane Belton (capt); Lynne Cantwell, Patrique Kelly, Shannon Houston, Grace Davitt; Joanne O’Sullivan, Tania Rosser; Fiona Coghlan, Jess Limbert, Marie Barrett, Caroline Mahon, Germaine Healy, Eimear O’Sullivan, Sinead Ryan, Orla Brennan.
Replacements: Gillian Bourke, Yvonne Nolan, Kate O’Loughlin, Louise Austin, Louise Beamish, Niamh Briggs, Amy Davis.