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Ireland Star Naoupu To Captain Leinster Women

Ireland Star Naoupu To Captain Leinster Women

Ireland star Sene Naoupu has been selected to captain Leinster in the upcoming IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship, which begins for the Blues with a home clash with Ulster next Friday night.

Sene Naoupu will lead a new-look Leinster Women’s squad as they attempt to regain the Interprovincial crown, following last season’s nail-biting finish which saw their arch rivals Munster win the title by two points on scoring difference.

Naoupu, who previously played for Connacht, was a runner-up with Leinster in her debut season with the eastern province in 2017/18, playing at out-half and striking up a promising half-back partnership with her international colleague Ailsa Hughes.

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The 34-year-old play-maker has excelled on the international stage with both the Ireland 15s and Sevens teams. She has 26 caps so far in 15s Test rugby, including nine starts at centre in the last ten internationals and an ever-present run during the 2018 Women’s Six Nations Championship when she cut through for a memorable try against Wales.

Australian Ben Armstrong is head coach of the Leinster Women’s team this season, taking the reins from Adam Griggs, who is entering his second year as Ireland Women’s head coach. An experienced coach, Armstrong works as a Leinster Community Rugby Officer and has coached at the likes of Wicklow, Greystones and Lansdowne.

There is a fresh look to the Leinster squad this term with ten uncapped players involved, including the likes of Nikki Caughey, Elaine Anthony, Katie O’Dwyer and Ellen Murphy who have switched provinces, while last season’s captain Paula Fitzpatrick, Jenny Murphy, who is taking a break from playing rugby, and the retired Sophie Spence are all missing from the 2017/18 squad.

Backs Lauren Farrell McCabe (Suttonians) and Ray Lawless (Blackrock) are among the newcomers for the Blues, along with Portlaoise native and former Leinster Under-18 captain Emma Hooban (pictured below) and talented Kiwi recruit Nicole Purdom, who has been making waves as Suttonians’ number 8, in the forward ranks.

Leinster will have two home matches in the Interprovincial Championship, hosting Ulster at Blackrock College RFC in the opening round next Friday (kick-off 7pm) and closing out the tournament against Munster at Energia Park on Saturday, September 15 (kick-off 7.30pm). Their lone road trip is to the Sportsground in Galway to play Connacht on Sunday, September 9 (kick-off 3pm).

To encourage supporters to come and support the Leinster Women in their final round match against Munster, those attending the Leinster v Dragons GUINNESS PRO14 game at the RDS on Saturday, September 15 (kick-off 5.15pm) will be given free entry to Energia Park once they show their Season Ticket or match ticket at the gate.

LEINSTER WOMEN’S Squad: Susan Vaughan (Railway Union), Megan Williams (Old Belvedere), Aine Donnelly (Old Belvedere), Ray Lawless (Blackrock) *, Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere) (capt), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union), Eimear Corri (Blackrock), Nikki Caughey (Railway Union), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock), Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere) *, Nicole Carroll (Suttonians), Gemma Matthews (Old Belvedere) *, Niamh Griffin (Blackrock), Elise O’Byrne-White (Old Belvedere), Lauren Farrell McCabe (Suttonians) *, Lindsay Peat (Railway Union), Ann-Marie Rooney (Blackrock), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union), Elaine Anthony (Old Belvedere) *, Juliet Short (Railway Union), Nicole Purdom (Suttonians) *, Mairead Holohan (Blackrock), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere) *, Emma Hooban (St. Mary’s) *, Christy Haney (St. Mary’s), Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union) *, Rachel Horan (CYM), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union), Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock) *, Meg Kendall (Railway Union), Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock).

* Denotes uncapped player


Friday, August 31 –

LEINSTER WOMEN v ULSTER WOMEN, Stradbrook, Blackrock College RFC, 7pm

Sunday, September 9 –

CONNACHT WOMEN v LEINSTER WOMEN, the Sportsground, Galway, 3pm

Saturday, September 15 –

LEINSTER WOMEN v MUNSTER WOMEN, Energia Park, Donnybrook, 7.30pm