Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney has named the team, sponsored by Aon, to take on their Italian counterparts at Stadio Tommaso Fattori in L’Aquila on Sunday (kick-off 2pm local time/1pm Irish time).
There are two changes to the Ireland side took to the pitch for last Friday’s 22-15 first round win over Scotland in rain-hit Cumbernauld. Sunday’s round 2 match will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2.
Elaine Anthony is promoted from the bench to partner Marie Louise Reilly in the second row, while in the backs, Hannah Tyrrell, who helped the Ireland Women’s Sevens team finish eighth in last weekend’s World Sevens Series tournament in Sydney, has been selected on the right wing.
The front row remains unchanged, with hooker Leah Lyons, partnered by props Lindsay Peat and Ailis Egan. Flankers Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy will again join captain Paula Fitzpatrick in the back-row.
Ailsa Hughes will make her second successive start, partnering the experienced Nora Stapleton at half-back, while Sene Naoupu and Jenny Murphy continue their centre partnership and Alison Miller, Tyrrell and full-back Mairead Coyne complete the back-three.
There are also two changes in the replacements as Ciara Cooney fills the space left by starting lock Anthony and returning star Sophie Spence comes into the matchday 23 as cover for the back row.
Commenting on this week’s challenge against the Italians, Tom Tierney said: “It was a very tough encounter ast Friday evening in Glasgow. The Scots really put it up to us, and for the players to get that final score when it really mattered, and to come away with the five points from such a tough encounter, is very pleasing.
“We’ve reviewed the performance against Scotland and the players are aware of the areas that they need to improve on against Italy.
“The nature of the Six Nations is that there’s no easy games, so we’ll have to be really focused going into the game this Sunday.”
Tickets for Ireland’s two upcoming home matches in the Women’s Six Nations are on sale from Ticktemaster.ie.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Italy Women, 2017 Women’s Six Nations Championship, Stadio Tommaso Fattori, L’Aquila, Sunday, February 12, kick-off 2pm local time/1pm Irish time):
15. Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht)
14. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
13. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
4. Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster) (capt)
16. Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
17. Ilse van Staden (Cooke/Ulster)
18. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht)
19. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
20. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
21. Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
22. Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
23. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
IRELAND WOMEN’S Management –
Anthony Eddy – Director of Women’s Rugby
Tom Tierney – Head Coach
Declan O’Brien – Assistant Coach
Derek Dowling – Scrum Coach
Tanya Abbas-Curran – Team Manager
Ed Slattery – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Nathan Buckley – Video Analyst
Emma Gallivan – Physiotherapist
Alan Farrell – Team Doctor
Marcus Shortall – Nutritionist
Rory Wilson – Squad Co-ordinator
Sam O’Byrne – Media Officer
IRELAND WOMEN’S Six Nations Schedule:
Friday, February 3
Scotland Women 15 Ireland Women 22, Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow
Sunday, February 12
Italy Women v Ireland Women, Stadio Tommaso Fattori, L’Aquila, 2pm local time/1pm Irish time (live on RTE)
Sunday, February 26
Ireland Women v France Women, Donnybrook Stadium, 12.45pm (live on RTE)
Saturday, March 11
Wales Women v Ireland Women, BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff, 11.30am (live on RTE)
Friday, March 17
Ireland Women v England Women, Donnybrook Stadium, 8pm (live on RTE/Sky Sports)