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Preview: Ireland Women v Scotland Women

Preview: Ireland Women v Scotland Women

The Ireland Women will bid to finish their RBS Women’s 6 Nations campaign on a winning note when they entertain their Scottish counterparts at Ashbourne RFC tonight (kick-off 7.30pm). A victory for the girls in green would see them finish third in the table for the second year running, although they do have an outside chance of pipping France for second place.



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Team News: Ireland Women’s coach Kevin West has named his team for their final game of this year’s RBS Women’s 6 Nations against Scotland at Ashbourne RFC.

He has made three changes to the starting line-up from last weekend’s terrific 18-3 win over Wales at the same venue.

Up front, Gillian Bourke comes in at hooker with Sinead Ryan starting at openside flanker.

In the back-line, Nora Stapleton gets the nod to start on the left wing, joining Niamh Briggs and Amy Davis in an exciting back-three.

Chris Fanning and Caroline Mahon have been included among the replacements, along with recent debutant Eliza Downey who makes her first appearance in the matchday squad since the opening game of the Championship.

Ireland are currently third in the table behind England and France and similarly to the men’s side, they need to beat Scotland and hope that champions elect England overcome France by a big margin to stand a chance of making second.

A Supporters bus will operate again this week from Old Belvedere to Ashbourne RFC. The bus leaves at 6.30pm on Friday and space is limited so book now.

The 20 euro fee includes return coach, ticket to the match and one free drink at the Ashbourne RFC bar. For more information, please contact Jenny MacGregor – jpmacgregor@gmail.com – to reserve your seat.

Meanwhile, crossing the Irish Sea for their final fixture in this year’s Championship, and currently in fourth place in the table, Scotland Women have made some changes to their back row as they take on Ireland.

The fixture sees a debut for full-back Nicola Halfpenny with centre Lucy Millard making her 50th appearance for Scotland.

After a win, a defeat and a draw in the first three matches, the Scots faced a strong English side last weekend. Despite putting a up a brave fight, the home side went down 51-0 at Meggetland.

Tonight’s game allows Scottish coach Gary Parker to consider a new back-three combination, with an eye on the forthcoming World Cup, as Celia Hawthorn switches to the right wing. Erin Kerr also returns to the matchday squad following injury.

IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (Clonmel/Munster); Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster), Joanne O’Sullivan (Richmond/Exile), Grace Davitt (Blackrock/Leinster), Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Helen Brosnan (Highfield/Munster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Lauren Day (Cooke/Ulster), Kate O’Loughlin (Clonmel/Munster), Marie Louise Reilly (Navan/Leinster), Orla Brennan (Blackrock/Leinster), Sinead Ryan (Navan/Leinster), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster).

Replacements: Chris Fanning (Highfield/Munster), Louise Austin (UL Bohemians/Munster), Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians/Leinster), Carol Staunton (Galwegians/Connacht), Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians/Munster), Shannon Houston (Blackrock/Leinster), Eliza Downey (Cooke/Ulster).

SCOTLAND WOMEN: Nicola Halfpenny (Melrose); Celia Hawthorn (Edinburgh University), Lucy Millard (Team Northumbria), Veronica Fitzpatrick (RHC Cougars), Lynsey Douglas (London Wasps); Tanya Griffith (RHC Cougars), Louise Dalgliesh (RHC Cougars); Heather Lockhart (Hillhead/Jordanhill), Sarah-Louise Walker (Watsonians), Gillian McCord (RHC Cougars), Louise Moffat (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lindsay Wheeler (Team Northumbria), Lynne Reid (RHC Cougars) (capt), Donna Kennedy (Worcester), Susie Brown (Richmond). 

Replacements: Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), Beth Dickens (Murrayfield Wanderers), Natalya Macholla (Stirling County), Ruth Slaven (Murrayfield Wanderers), Sarah Gill (Murrayfield Wanderers), Erin Kerr (Wasps), Stephanie Johnston (Hillhead/Jordanhill).

Referee: Hervé Dubes (France)
Assistant Referees: Ken Beggs, Peter Dennehy (both Ireland)

Pre-Match Quotes: Kevin West (Ireland Women) – “We are fortunate to be playing at Ashbourne RFC because they have a fantastic pitch which helps us with our rugby and we have also received some brilliant support.

“We have won against Italy and Wales there and we want to create a fortress feel about the place so beating Scotland would round off a satisfactory Championship for us.

“Against Wales it was really competitive in the first half and if they had scored a couple of penalty opportunities then it might have been a different story.

“But we were really happy with the way we performed in the second half, we have not beaten the Welsh in a while so it was extra sweet.

“I’m really pleased with the way the squad have developed throughout the course of the Championship and now we need to make sure we finish strongly against Scotland.”

Gary Parker (Scotland Women) – “This weekend it’s Ireland, a side full of confidence after their win last weekend over Wales as well as running England close in their previous game.

“The test for us is how we react to the England result and, with less than a week’s turnaround, there is no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves.

“There is an opportunity to finish in the top three of the Championship, for the first time in a very long while, if we can upset the form book and win in Ashbourne.”

Pre-Match Links 

Video Blog: Ireland v Wales

Neville: Extra Fitness Work Is Paying Off

Irish Women Bounce Back With Terrific Win

West Happy With Squad’s Progression

A Century Of Games For Ireland Women

Recent Meetings –

2007: RBS Women’s 6 Nations: Scotland Women 6 Ireland Women 18, Meggetland, Boroughmuir RFC 

2008: RBS Women’s 6 Nations: Ireland Women 13 Scotland Women 3, Templeville Road, St. Mary’s College RFC

2009: RBS Women’s 6 Nations: Scotland Women 0 Ireland Women 23, Meggetland, Boroughmuir RFC