The Ireland team and replacements to play England in the semi-final of the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup on Wednesday has been named.
Head coach Philip Doyle has named the same side that overcame New Zealand in round 2 of the pool stages, reversing the 10 personnel changes he made for the Kazakhstan game last time out.
Niamh Briggs – Ireland’s top scorer in France with 25 points – makes up the back-three along with wingers Ashleigh Baxter and Alison Miller.
Grace Davitt and Lynne Cantwell continue in the centre for their fourth start together of the tournament, with Nora Stapleton and Tania Rosser named as the half-backs.
Captain Fiona Coghlan is joined by hooker Gillian Bourke and Ailis Egan in a settled front row combination, while Sophie Spence and Marie Louise Reilly also reunite in the second row.
Paula Fitzpatrick, who turns 29 today (pictured below), Claire Molloy and number 8 Heather O’Brien – recovered from her finger injury – feature in a combative back row.
Speaking ahead of the semi-final, Doyle said: “We have had a fantastic campaign so far and that has only come from hard work and dedication. We don’t intend for it to end here.”
Wednesday’s much-anticipated meeting of the Six Nations rivals, which kicks off at 5pm Irish time, will be televised live on TG4 and Sky Sports 4. There will also be live radio commentary on RTÉ 2fm.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v England, IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup Semi-Final, Stade Jean Bouin, Paris, France, Wednesday, August 13, kick-off 6pm local time/5pm Irish time):
15. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
14. Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
13. Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile)
12. Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9. Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster)
1. Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt)
2. Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
4. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
6. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College/Leinster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
8. Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster)
16. Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
17. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster)
18. Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster)
19. Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster)
20. Larissa Muldoon (Bristol/Exile)
21. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
22. Hannah Casey (Saracens/Exile)
2014 IRB WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP:
Friday, August 1: IRELAND 23 USA 17, Marcoussis pitch 3
Tuesday, August 5: New Zealand 14 IRELAND 17, Marcoussis pitch 1
Saturday, August 9: IRELAND 40 Kazakhstan 5, Marcoussis pitch 3
Wednesday, August 13: IRELAND v England, Stade Jean Bouin, 6pm local time/5pm Irish time