Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney has named the team, sponsored by Aon, to play Canada in their second game of the November Series at the UCD Bowl on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).
There are ten changes (including two new caps) to the side that narrowly lost out 12-10 to England last Sunday in Belfield, as Tom Tierney continues to develop his squad ahead of the Women’s Rugby World Cup which takes place in Ireland next August.
Paula Fitzpatrick will again captain Ireland from number 8, supported in the back row by Railway Union’s Ciara Cooney and UL Bohemians’ Anna Caplice, who will win her first Ireland Women’s 15s cap, having previously represented her country in Sevens.
Second row Nichola Fryday will also made her debut this weekend. The 21-year-old UCD student, who plays her club rugby with Tullamore RFC, will be partnered by Blackrock’s Katie Norris, while the Munster trio of Fiona Hayes, Zoe Grattage and Fiona Reidy form a new-look Ireland front row.
Galwegians scrum half Mary Healy and Belfast-born out-half Nikki Caughey pair up at half-back, with Nicole Fowley continuing alongside Sene Naoupu in the centre. Fowley, who hails from Sligo, won her first cap against England, and the centre duo will have the same back-three outside centre as full-back Mairead Coyne and wingers Alison Miller and Niamh Kavanagh line out together for the second successive match.
In the replacements, hooker Leah Lyons, another of the newcomers against England, will be looking to add a second cap to her tally if she is required from the bench.
Also providing front row cover will be Ailis Egan and Lindsay Peat. Elaine Anthony and Chloe Pearse are the other forwards on the bench and Larissa Muldoon, Jackie Shiels and Claire McLaughlin are the reserve backs.
Looking forward to the second game of the November Series, head coach Tierney said: “There were lots of positives to take from last Sunday’s game against England. While the result didn’t go in our favour, the players will take a lot from the performance and we will be looking to build on this over the next two weeks against Canada and New Zealand.
“This weekend, Canada will present us with a new and different challenge. We know England well from playing them in the Six Nations, but this week’s opposition are less familiar to us.
“They have a very strong rugby programme in Canada and were runners-up at the last World Cup, so we will have to play smart rugby against them and stick to our game-plan. We’ve two more new caps this week as well, so we’re looking forward to seeing how Anna and Nichola get on in UCD.”
Tickets for the Women’s November Series are on sale at www.ticketmaster.ie/womensrugby. Individual match tickets – adults €;10 (seating) and €;5 (standing) and children (free – must be booked with adult ticket) – and two-game packs are available. Ireland v Canada will be streamed live via the Irish Rugby YouTube channel.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Canada Women, Women’s November Series, UCD Bowl, Saturday, November 19, kick-off 2pm):
15. Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht)
14. Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster)
13. Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht)
12. Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster)
9. Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
1. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster)
2. Zoe Grattage (Highfield/Munster)
3. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
4. Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/Leinster) *
6. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
7. Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster) (capt)
16. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
17. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
18. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
19. Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster)
20. Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemians/Munster)
21. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union)
22. Jackie Shiels (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
23. Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
* Denotes uncapped player
WOMEN’S NOVEMBER SERIES RESULTS/FIXTURES:
Sunday, November 13:
Ireland Women 10 England Women 12, UCD Bowl
Saturday, November 19:
Ireland Women v Canada Women, UCD Bowl, 2pm
Wednesday, November 23:
Canada Women v New Zealand Women, Donnybrook, 1pm
Sunday, November 27:
Ireland Women v New Zealand Women, UCD Bowl, 2pm
Next August, Ireland will host the Women’s Rugby World Cup. For more information visit www.irishrugby.ie/Ireland2017. #BringIt