Ireland Women’s head coach Adam Griggs has made six changes to the team to play England at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday evening (kick-off 5.40pm). The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Mix, Main Event and Action.
Five of the changes are up front following a bruising 19-10 defeat to the USA at Energia Park last Sunday. Portlaoise youngster Emma Hooban, who won her first international cap off the bench last weekend, will make her first start at hooker.
The 21-year-old Hooban will be joined in the front row by Leah Lyons, who is now playing her club rugby with English side Harlequins, and Lindsay Peat who is set for her 24th Test appearance since her debut against England in November 2015.
Tullamore woman Nichola Fryday replaces Ciara Cooney who suffered a dislocated shoulder during the US game. She packs down with Aoife McDermott in the second row, while Jeamie Deacon and Juliet Short, who comes in for her debut at number 8, slot into a back row marshalled by Claire Molloy.
There is one change in the backs where UL Bohemians and Munster’s Nicole Cronin gets the nod to start at scrum half alongside Nikki Caughey. Michelle Claffey will again partner Sene Naoupu in the centre, with Naoupu taking on the captaincy role for the first time as Ciara Griffin is ruled out with a shoulder complaint.
Naoupu, an experienced operator for Ireland in both 15s and Sevens, will win her 28th cap this weekend. She stepped up as captain of Leinster this season and led them to the IRFU Women’s Interprovincial title with an unbeaten run against the other provinces.
Munster speedsters Laura Sheehan and Eimear Considine, who both touched down against the US Eagles, continue in the back-three along with IQ Rugby full-back Lauren Delany, one of the four new caps last week. There is one more new cap on the bench in the form of Old Belvedere and Leinster’s Ellen Murphy.
Looking forward to the clash at Twickenham, head coach Adam Griggs said: “Although we finished strongly on Sunday against the USA, overall we were disappointed with aspects of the game and the end result. We have reviewed the footage and are aware of the areas we need to improve as we have a big test this Saturday.
“England have shown over the last number of seasons that they are one of the top sides in the world, and it’s set to be a big occasion taking to the pitch at Twickenham Stadium after their men’s side face Australia.
“We will be focusing on our own game and are looking to put in a strong performance to finish these November Tests on a positive.”
Entry to the Women’s international between England and Ireland at Twickenham is free and no ticket is required. Entrance to the ground will be via Gate A from 5pm on Saturday. Bag searches will be in place so please only bring small bags.
Those who attended the England v Australia men’s match can stay for another dose of international rugby as England and Ireland go head to head. Spectators seated in the middle and upper tiers for the men’s game will be asked to be relocate to the lower West and East Stands.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v England Women, 2018 November International, Twickenham Stadium, London, Saturday, November 24, kick-off 5.40pm):
15. Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo Ladies/IQ Rugby)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
13. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster) (capt)
12. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
11. Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians/Munster)
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Leinster)
9. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemians/Munster)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Emma Hooban (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
3. Leah Lyons (Harlequins)
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/Connacht)
6. Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock/Leinster)
7. Claire Molloy (Wasps)
8. Juliet Short (Railway Union/Leinster) *
16. Sarah Mimnagh (Richmond/IQ Rugby)
17. Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
19. Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
20. Edel McMahon (Galwegians/Connacht)
21. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
22. Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
23. Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Connacht)
* Denotes uncapped player
IRELAND WOMEN’S November Tests –
Sunday, November 18:
IRELAND WOMEN 10 USA WOMEN 19, Energia Park, Donnybrook
Saturday, November 24:
ENGLAND WOMEN v IRELAND WOMEN, Twickenham, 5.40pm (live Sky Sports Mix/Main Event/Action)
* Entry to England Women v Ireland Women will be free following the conclusion of the men’s game