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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Ireland Women’s Team Named For Pool Decider With France

Ireland Women’s Team Named For Pool Decider With France

Munster duo Nicole Cronin and Leah Lyons will start for Ireland in Thursday’s crunch Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 pool clash with France at the UCD Bowl (kick-off 7.45pm). The winners will top Pool C and qualify for the semi-finals in Belfast.

An impressive debut performance against Japan has seen Nicole Cronin preferred to Larissa Muldoon at scrum half, while Leah Lyons, who had the desired impact off the bench last Sunday, gets the nod at hooker ahead of Cliodhna Moloney.

Head coach Tom Tierney has selected the same team that defeated Australia, apart from the inclusions of Cronin, Lyons, Sophie Spence and Ciara Griffin, with the latter pair scoring tries as influential replacements in the Pool C opener.

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Loosehead Lindsay Peat and captain Claire Molloy are set for their third successive starts of the tournament up front. Peat and Lyons are joined by Ailis Egan in the same front row combination that caused problems for France during Ireland’s 13-10 Six Nations win over les Bleues earlier this year at Donnybrook.

Marie Louise Reilly, the Aon player-of-the-match against the Wallaroos, resumes her second row partnership with Spence, while Molloy reverts to openside flanker with Griffin continuing on the blindside, and Paula Fitzpatrick, who bagged a vital brace of tries against the Japanese, returns at number 8.

Fresh from her player-of-the-match display the last day, experienced out-half Nora Stapleton and Cronin command the half-back positions. Jenny Murphy comes back in to form a powerful centre pairing with Sene Naoupu, who has been ever-present in the pool stages along with fellow backs Stapleton, Alison Miller and Hannah Tyrrell.

Ireland’s starting back-line is completed by a back-three of Tyrrell at full-back, Eimear Considine on the right wing and Miller on the left. The bench options, which have proven crucial for Tierney’s side in the opening two rounds, include Louise Galvin who made her 15s international debut at the start of the second half against Japan.

Previewing the showdown with pool leaders France, Tierney said: “We’ve had lots of tough games against France over the years and we know tomorrow evening is going to be no different. They have looked really good in their opening two games of the tournament and they’ll be coming into this game full of confidence.

“It’s a cup final tomorrow night, with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs, so we want the players to go out there and give it everything. It won’t be easy, but with the crowd behind them, they have the ability to claim a place in the final four.”

The eagerly-awaited Ireland v France match will be broadcast live on television in the Republic of Ireland by eir Sport 2 and RTE Two, and in the UK by ITV 4. RTE 2fm will have also live commentary on radio, while there will be live streaming available on www.rwcwomens.com in selected regions.

IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v France, 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup – Pool C, UCD Bowl, Thursday, August 17, kick-off 7.45pm):

15. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
13. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Harlequins)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
4. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht) (capt)
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster)

16. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
17. Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht)
18. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht)
19. Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke/Ulster)
20. Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster)
21. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union/Ulster)
22. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
23. Louise Galvin (UL Bohemians/Munster)

Wednesday, August 9
Ireland 19 Australia 17, UCD Bowl

Sunday, August 13
Ireland 24 Japan 14, UCD Bowl

Thursday, August 17
France v Ireland, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm

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For more on the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, visit the tournament website – www.rwcwomens.com. Buy your match tickets for the #WRWC2017 finals stages now on www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wrwc2017 and www.ticketmaster.ie/wrwc2017.