Head coach Adam Griggs has named the Ireland Women’s team, sponsored by Aon, to play Wales in the third round of the Women’s Six Nations at Donnybrook on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
There are four personnel changes and two positional switches to the side that overcame Italy 21-8 in their last match a fortnight ago. Ciara O’Connor and Leah Lyons, who both featured off the bench in the opening rounds of the tournament, start alongside Lindsay Peat in the front row. It will be O’Connor’s first international start at hooker, having started at tighthead prop previously against Japan in the World Cup.
Nichola Fryday is partnered in the second row by Orla Fitzsimons whose St. Mary’s club-mate Paula Fitzpatrick reverts to number 8 to accommodate the change, while captain Ciara Griffin moves to the blindside. Claire Molloy completes the back row trio.
There is one change in the back-line with Ulster’s Claire McLaughlin starting on the left wing in place of the injured Alison Miller. She is joined in the back-three by Megan Williams, who scored her first international try against the Italians, and full-back Kim Flood.
Sene Naoupu and Katie Fitzhenry will again line out together in the centre, with Niamh Briggs and Ailsa Hughes starting their third successive Championship game at half-back. Molloy and Briggs will be making their 60th appearances for Ireland this weekend.
Railway Union lock Aoife McDermott is poised to make her debut off the bench, with the replacements also including Laura Feely, Edel McMahon and Michelle Claffey, who won their first caps in in the last two rounds, and winger Hannah Tyrrell who is back in the Irish matchday squad for the first time since last year’s World Cup.
Speaking ahead of the clash with Wales, Adam Griggs said: “We got a good boost after the win over Italy a fortnight ago. We did what we wanted to, played with tempo and moved the ball. While the performance was far from perfect, we set a marker down for the rest of the campaign.
“We now head into a tough test on Sunday against the Welsh. We are looking to rectify some of the areas of our game that we haven’t been happy with over the past few weeks and if we can make those small changes, it should be a great one.
“Having the crowd behind us against Italy really spurred us on the last day, so we’re hoping to see another big turnout of fans on Sunday afternoon in Donnybrook.”
Tickets for the Ireland Women’s home matches at Donnybrook are available now via www.ticketmaster.ie. The IRFU is offering a bus subsidy of up to 400 euro per club for private transport hire. For more information on the bus subsidy for the 2018 Women’s Six Nations, contact email@example.com before purchasing tickets.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Wales Women, 2018 Womens Six Nations Championship, Donnybrook, Sunday, February 25, kick-off 3pm):
15. Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
14. Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
13. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock/Leinster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
11. Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
10. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht)
3. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
4. Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol)
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
16. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
17. Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
19. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster) *
20. Edel McMahon (Galwegians/Connacht)
21. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
22. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
23. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player at this level
IRELAND WOMEN – 2018 SIX NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS/FIXTURES:
France Women 24 Ireland Women 0, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, Saturday, February 3
Ireland Women 21 Italy Women 8, Donnybrook, Sunday, February 11
Ireland Women v Wales Women, Donnybrook, Sunday, February 25, 3pm – Buy Match Tickets
Ireland Women v Scotland Women, Donnybrook, Sunday, March 11, 1pm – Buy Match Tickets
England Women v Ireland Women, Ricoh Arena, Coventry, Friday, March 16, 5.30pm – Buy Match Tickets