Frustrated by the abandonment of their opening match against Wales, the Ireland Women are hugely determined to create their own piece of history in Pau on Saturday by beating France away for the first time.
2012 WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, February 11
FRANCE WOMEN v IRELAND WOMEN, Stade du Hameau, Pau, 3.30pm local time/2.30pm Irish time
Team News: Ireland Women’s head coach Philip Doyle has named an unchanged team for their game against France in Pau this weekend.
Unfortunately last Friday’s opening encounter with Wales was called off at half-time due to a deterioration in weather conditions in Ashbourne. A decision has yet to be made on the rescheduling of this fixture.
Ireland were leading 10-3 at half-time following a sparkling try from winger Alison Miller and a conversion and penalty from Niamh Briggs.
The girls in green have never secured an away victory over France before, but can draw confidence from their 40-minute display against Wales and their 7-5 win over the French in Ashbourne back in February 2009.
Current captain Fiona Coghlan scored the crucial try that night with Briggs’ successful conversion splitting the sides in the end.
Meanwhile, French coaches Christian Galonnier and Nathalie Amiel have selected a strong side led by Marie Alice Yahe and her Perpignan club-mate Aurélie Bailon at half-back.
Laura Delas has come in on the right wing for Chloé Pelle, one of France’s try scorers in their 32-0 victory over Italy in the opening round.
Laetitia Salles has been promoted to the front row after a cameo as a second half replacement last time out, while lock Sandra Rabier is the other newcomer up front.
The back row of Claire Canal, Marie Charlotte Hebel and Aïda Ba has been kept intact, with the latter having touched down in the eighth minute against the Italians.
FRANCE WOMEN: Jessy Tremouliere (Romagnat); Laura Delas (Lons), Marjorie Mayans (St Orens), Sandrine Agricole (Rennes), Caroline Ladagnous (Lons); Aurélie Bailon (USAP), Marie Alice Yahe (USAP) (capt); Hélène Ezanno (Rennes), Laetitia Salles (USAP), Christelle Chobet (Lons), Sandra Rabier (Caen), Cyrielle Bouisset (USAP), Claire Canal (USAP), Marie Charlotte Hebel (Rennes), Aïda Ba (Bobigny).
Replacements: Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier), Emeline Dupont (Lille), Elodie Mert (Bobigny), Manon Andre (St Orens), Chloé Pelle (Lille), Laura Di Muzio (Lille), Jennyfer Troncy (Montpellier).
IRELAND WOMEN: Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster); Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster), Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Highfield/Connacht); Lynne Cantwell (Exile), Amy Davis (Blackrock/Leinster); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Exile), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Exile), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster).
Replacements: Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster), Larissa Muldoon (Exile/UWIC/Ulster), Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Jennifer Murphy (Exile)
Referee: Sherry Trumbull (Canada)
Pre-Match Quotes: Philip Doyle (Ireland Women) – “Thankfully after last week’s performance, even if it was only 40 minutes long, we are able to name an unchanged team and bench for this week’s game.
“France away is always a hard place to go and get a win but the ladies are in a good space at the moment and will take that into the weekend.
“I am in no doubt that the ladies will put in a performance and raise their game in order to get where they want to be.”
Pre-Match Links –
Recent Meetings –
2009: Women’s RBS 6 Nations: Ireland Women 7 France Women 5, Ashbourne RFC
2010: Women’s RBS 6 Nations: France Women 19 Ireland Women 9, Stade des Allees, Blois
2011: Women’s RBS 6 Nations: Ireland Women 12 France Women 14, Ashbourne RFC