The Ireland Women’s team, sponsored by Aon, has been named to for their Women’s RBS 6 Nations Nations match against Italy at Donnybrook on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Head coach Tom Tierney has made eight personnel changes and three positional switches from the last outing against England, so it will be a new-look side that will run out at Donnybrook on Sunday afternoon.
There is a new back-three as Kim Flood and Liz Burke win their first Ireland caps. They are joined by experienced winger Alison Miller who is back into the 15-a-side game following the Ireland Women’s Sevens trip to Sydney and Sao Paulo last month.
Flood, who is also part of the Women’s Sevens programme, takes over at full-back from captain Niamh Briggs who will partner Sene Naoupu in the centre for the round 4 fixture.
Nikki Caughey, another member of the Sevens programme, comes back into the starting line-up at out-half. She will be partnered by scrum half Mary Healy, who will be making her first Six Nations start.
Up front, Lindsay Peat earns her first Ireland start at loosehead prop and Elaine Anthony will make her Six Nations debut when she partners Marie Louise Reilly in the second row.
In the back row, 2015 World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year nominee Sophie Spence will move to number 8, with Ciara Cooney and Ciara Griffin selected on the flanks.
There is lots of experience on the replacements bench, with the likes of Ruth O’Reilly, Paula Fitzpatrick, Claire Molloy, Larissa Muldoon and Nora Stapleton all being available if required.
Claire McLaughlin, who was an unused replacement against England back in November, will be hoping to win her first Ireland cap from the bench on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s encounter, Tierney said: “While results haven’t gone our way since the opening game against Wales, we have been strong in passages of our play, but mistakes proved to be costly and because of that we just didn’t manage to come out on the right side of the results against France and England.
“We’ve made a number of changes this week and this is to allow players the opportunity to show us what they can do, and no better place to do it than at home in Donnybrook. There’s a couple of new caps and girls making their first Six Nations starts so it should make for an exciting game on Sunday against Italy.”
Sunday’s match kicks off at 1pm – click here for tickets. Irish Rugby TV will also provide a live stream here.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Italy Women, 2016 Women’s RBS 6 Nations, Donnybrook, Sunday, March 13, kick-off 1pm):
15. Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster) *
14. Liz Burke (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
13. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
12. Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster)
9. Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
4. Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
6. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
7. Ciara Griffin (Tralee/Munster)
8. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
16. Zoe Grattage (Tralee/Munster)
17. Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
19. Claire Molloy (Bristol)
20. Paula Fitzpatrick (Toulouse)
21. Larissa Muldoon (Skewen)
22. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
23. Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University/Ulster) *
* Denotes uncapped player at international level