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Vodafone Women’s Interpros: Round 3 – Leinster v Munster Preview

Vodafone Women’s Interpros: Round 3 – Leinster v Munster Preview

Ireland international Leah Tarpey marked her Leinster senior debut with a brilliant try during last week's bonus point victory over Ulster at Energia Park ©INPHO/Leah Scholes

New Ireland Women’s head coach Scott Bemand could not have hoped for a better fixture to come at the end of his first week based at the IRFU High Performance Centre.


Saturday, August 26 –

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LEINSTER (2nd) v MUNSTER (1st), Energia Park, 4.45pm (live on TG4)

Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship Form: Leinster: LW; Munster: WW
Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship Top Scorers – Leinster: Points: Christy Haney, Hannah O’Connor, Eimear Corri 10 each; Tries: Christy Haney, Eimear Corri 2 each; Munster: Points: Kate Flannery 17; Tries: Stephanie Carroll 3

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Fierce rivals Leinster and Munster clash at Energia Park tomorrow in the third round of the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship, with the pressure on Tania Rosser’s Blues to end Munster’s nine-match unbeaten run which stretches back to 2019.

Having got back to winning ways last week against Ulster, Leinster sit second in the table on six points. Munster’s 10-point tally has them safely through to next Saturday‘s final, but Rosser’s side will be acutely aware that Connacht (four points) could yet pip them as they host Ulster in the earlier kick-off.

Second row Eimear Corri has been one of Leinster’s most impressive performers, touching down in both of their games so far, and the pack is boosted by the addition of Ireland powerhouse Linda Djougang at loosehead prop.

“I think the team are very aware of the performances that Munster have put in to be top of the table,” admitted Corri. “But at the end of the day, this weekend is a weekend that all players live for.

“To have the reigning champions at home is a massive test, one that we’re definitely ready to rise to. We’ve focused on ourselves this week, done our analysis, just focused on our own game-plan and how we want to play.

“Hopefully with the sea of blue behind us again, we’ll get another good performance at the weekend.”

Recent Ireland Sevens international Anna Doyle returns on the right wing in Leinster’s only other change. There are four alterations to the Munster team that swept Connacht aside on a 46-7 scoreline.

Niamh Briggs’ side will be back on home turf for next week’s final following confirmation from the IRFU that the 3rd-4th place play-off and the title decider will both be held at Musgrave Park in Cork.

Notably, Jane Clohessy, the 24-year-old daughter of former Munster and Ireland prop Peter, will make her first start for the Reds in Donnybrook. She is a strong ball carrier and assistant coach Fiona Hayes has marked her out as one to watch.

“We saw Jane kind of come into the squad last year,” explained Hayes. “She actually came in because she had just started rugby again, coming in to help out with an internal trial game. The coaching staff, everyone was just like, ‘Wow! Oh my God!’. She just threw her body around.

“An out-and-out flanker. There were arguments, I wanted her in at hooker. There’s different areas when you have such raw talent. I think Briggs could have been looking to get her in the back-line as well! She has such great ability.”

Aoife Corey and Ellen Boylan feature in Munster’s back-three for the Dublin duel, with minor knocks ruling out both Eimear Considine and Aoife Doyle. Claire Bennett also makes her first start of the campaign, joining captain Dorothy Wall in the second row.

While Nicole Cronin is fit for bench duty after recovering from a leg injury, Hayes added: “Every week we’re growing. The buzz is good, but there’s also a sense of disappointment after every game with ‘what can I do better?’. They always want to do better.

“Obviously Leinster, it’s a huge game for us. It’s each game at a time, we’re respecting every team, analysing them and looking at where we can attack. I suppose the main thing we’re taking is that we’ve such talent in the squad that we’re focusing on ourselves.

“Their talent is what will get them over the line. It’s starting to click, we’re seeing glimpses of it. It’s a huge game for us, but it’s kind of internal. We’re focusing on ourselves and what we can do to move on to the next game and get that win.

“It’s very important for us to get that win. We’d never sit back and say, ‘okay, we’ll just go out and throw the ball around against Leinster’. No, we’re going there to win and then we can kick on to the final. We know we’re there already but each game is so important to us.”

LEINSTER: Natasja Behan; Aimee Clarke, Aoife Dalton, Leah Tarpey, Anna Doyle; Nikki Caughey, Katie Whelan; Linda Djougang, Lisa Callan, Christy Haney, Ruth Campbell, Eimear Corri, Aoife Wafer, Molly Boyne, Hannah O’Connor (capt).

Replacements: Caoimhe Molloy, Aoife Moore, Sarah Delaney, Katelynn Doran, Sene Taiti-Fanene, Ailsa Hughes, Dannah O’Brien, Elise O’Byrne-White.

MUNSTER: Aoife Corey; Ellen Boylan, Alana McInerney, Stephanie Nunan, Stephanie Carroll; Kate Flannery, Muirne Wall; Róisín Ormond, Ciara Farrell, Fiona Reidy, Dorothy Wall (capt), Claire Bennett, Jane Clohessy, Maeve Óg O’Leary, Deirbhile Nic a Bháird.

Replacements: Beth Buttimer, Eilís Cahill, Gillian Coombes, Clodagh O’Halloran, Chloe Pearse, Abbie Salter-Townshend, Nicole Cronin, Aoibhe O’Flynn.