Head Coach Greg McWilliams has named his Ireland Match Day Squad, sponsored by Aon, for Saturday’s TikTok Women’s Six Nations finale against Scotland at Kingspan Stadium (Kick off 8pm, live on RTÉ2, BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC Scotland).
There are three changes in personnel to Ireland’s starting XV for the Round 5 clash in Belfast, with the uncapped Vicky Irwin named to start at full-back and second row Sam Monaghan returning from injury. With Nicole Cronin ruled out this week through injury, Nikki Caughey comes in to start at out-half for her first appearance of the Championship.
24-year-old Irwin, who currently plays for Sale Sharks, will win her first cap in Belfast having represented Ulster at underage and senior Inter-Provincial level, joining Molly Scuffil-McCabe – who switches to the left wing this week – and Aoife Doyle in Ireland’s back three.
The midfield pairing remains unchanged as Sene Naoupu and Enya Breen start at outside and inside centre respectively, while Ulster’s Kathryn Dane partners Railway Union out-half Caughey in the half-backs.
There is a settled look to the Ireland pack as Monaghan’s return to the engine room is the only change in the front eight. Linda Djougang, Neve Jones and Christy Haney pack down in the front row, with captain Nichola Fryday reunited with Monaghan, who has recovered from a calf injury, in the second row.
Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon and Hannah O’Connor complete the Ireland starting team, with McWilliams opting for a six-two split on his bench for the visit of Scotland. Named among the replacements, scrum-half Ailsa Hughes is in line for her first appearance of the Championship.
“A couple of injuries have forced us to make minor changes this week, but overall we are very pleased with the dynamic of the team and we’re excited to get to work on Saturday,” McWilliams said.
“It will be a special moment for us all to have a big home crowd behind us at Kingspan Stadium, but for Neve, Kathryn and Vicky it will be particularly special to play in Belfast. We have received huge support in Dublin and Cork so far in this Six Nations and it’s a massive boost for the whole group to have so many people – young and old – behind us as we embark on our journey together.
“We have learned a lot about ourselves over the last six weeks and we hope to produce a strong performance to finish the Six Nations the way we want this Saturday. It promises to be another great occasion and we can’t wait to see so many of you in Belfast.”
Saturday’s Round 5 clash is live on RTÉ2, BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC Scotland, while tickets are available via Ticketmaster.ie.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v Scotland Women, 2022 TikTok Women’s Six Nations, Kingspan Stadium, Saturday, April 30, kick-off 8pm):
15. Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/Ulster)*
14. Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster) 9
13. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 47
12. Enya Breen (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) 13
11. Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 1
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 13
9. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster) 22
1. Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster) 21
2. Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster) 10
3. Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 3
4. Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht) (capt) 26
5. Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby) 8
6. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 14
7. Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby) 18
8. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 11
16. Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 11
17. Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) 5
18. Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 9
19. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 19
20. Grace Moore (Railway Union RFC/IQ Rugby) 2
21. Maeve Og O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 2
22. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 13
23. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 13.