The Ulster Women’s management team have named their starting line-up for Saturday evening’s Interprovincial Championship trip to play Leinster at Donnybrook (kick-off 6.30pm).
Ulster co-coaches Jarrett Truscott and Philip Doyle have made three personnel changes to the starting line-up for the second round encounter with the Leinster girls.
Ireland Sevens international Ashleigh Baxter, who played in the World Sevens Series opener in Dubai last week, comes into the side at openside flanker with captain Gemma McCutcheon and Storm Cobain shifting to blindside flanker and lock respectively.
Nikki Caughey, who has played international Sevens and 15s for Ireland like Baxter, will start at full-back with Emma Jordan, an impressive replacement against Munster last Saturday, starting on the right wing. Peita McAllister moves from the wing to outside centre.
The Ulster Women will be hoping to kick on from an encouraging opening round game with Munster at Kingspan Stadium where the hosts matched their opponents for long spells before going down 16-3.
Speaking after that 13-point defeat, former Ireland Women’s head coach Doyle told the Front Row Union website: “I was very impressed with our young players and how they slotted in, particularly the two girls in the forwards, Hannah (Beattie) and Storm (Cobain). It was nothing to them as in they weren’t fazed.
“It’s fantastic to see the positivity from these girls and they just take no crap basically, they just come in and they want to dish it and that’s brilliant.
“I am actually dying to get back to Donnybrook. I’m very confident that we can actually start playing. You saw against Munster that the way we are playing rugby, when we do play it, is quite attractive rugby. Compared to say Munster – no disrespect to them, they play the Munster way – we play, I think, a much nicer looking brand of rugby up in Ulster, and I think that we can easily bring that to Donnybrook.”
ULSTER WOMEN (v Leinster): Nikki Caughey; Emma Jordan, Peita McAlister, Claire McLaughlin, Amy Davis; Jemma Jackson, Kathryn Dane; Ilse van Staden, Lesley Megarity, Sorcha Mac Laimhin, Naomi McCullagh, Storm Cobain, Gemma McCutcheon (capt), Ashleigh Baxter, Lauren Maginnes.
Replacements: Brigid Collins, Shauna Martin, Beth Cregan, Aishling O’Connell, Hannah Beattie, Brittany Hogan, Leah McGoldrick, Maeve Liston.
ULSTER WOMEN – INTERPRO FIXTURES/RESULTS:
Saturday, December 3: Ulster Women 3 Munster Women 16, Kingspan Stadium
Saturday, December 10: Leinster Women v Ulster Women, Donnybrook, 6.30pm
Saturday, December 17: Connacht Women v Ulster Women, Galway Corinthians RFC, 2pm