The Ireland Women’s team, sponsored by Aon, has been named to face Scotland in their fifth and final Women’s RBS 6 Nations fixture at Donnybrook on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Tom Tierney’s selection shows seven personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that beat Italy 14-3 last Sunday at the Dublin 4 venue.
Experienced captain Niamh Briggs reverts from centre to her usual position of full-back. She will have Liz Burke, who won her first Ireland cap last weekend, and Alison Miller alongside her on the wings.
Ulster’s Claire McLaughlin, who was another new cap against the Italians, will partner Sene Naoupu in the centre for her first international start.
Out-half Nora Stapleton and scrum half Larissa Muldoon form an experienced half-back partnership, with 71 caps between them.
Up front, Ruth O’Reilly returns to her regular loosehead berth and joins Zoe Grattage and Ailis Egan in the front row. Ciara Cooney moves from the back row to partner Elaine Anthony in the second row.
Ciara Griffin switches from openside to blindside flanker to allow Claire Molloy don the number 7 jersey and Paula Fitzpatrick, Ireland’s second half try scorer against Italy, will start at number 8.
Replacements Fiona Hayes and Orla Fitzsimons will be hoping to make their first Six Nations appearances of the season, while Aine Donnelly returns to the matchday squad having missed the Italy match.
Speaking ahead of the clash with the Scots, head coach Tierney said: “Building strength in depth has been a key focus for us this campaign. Since we began the season back in November with our first ever autumn Test against England, there have been 14 new caps and that is very important for Women’s rugby in Ireland.
“Overall we’re pleased with how the Six Nations has progressed so far. While the results away to England and France were disappointing, we have won our two home games and will be hoping to make it three this weekend.
“Scotland have a new coaching ticket and quality new players this season playing a very competitive style of rugby. We again have some new combinations out there, which I’m sure will be exciting and will hopefully allow us to finish the campaign on a high.”
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Scotland Women, 2016 Women’s RBS 6 Nations Championship, Donnybrook, Sunday, March 20, kick-off 1pm):
15. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
14. Liz Burke (UL Bohemians/Munster)
13. Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University/Ulster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9. Larissa Muldoon (Skewen)
1. Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht)
2. Zoe Grattage (Tralee/Munster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
4. Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster)
5. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
6. Ciara Griffin (Tralee/Munster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol)
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (Toulouse)
16. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
17. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
19. Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
20. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
21. Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
22. Aine Donnelly (Cill Dara/Leinster)
23. Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)