The Irish Rugby TV cameras will be at Ashbourne RFC today as Ireland attempt to lower the colours of defending champions England in an eagerly-awaited Women’s Six Nations clash. Both sides made winning starts to the Championship last weekend.
2013 WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Saturday, February 9
IRELAND WOMEN (2nd) v ENGLAND WOMEN (1st), Ashbourne RFC, 2pm (live on Irish Rugby TV)
Team News: Ireland Women’s head coach Philip Doyle has made a number of changes to the side for their second Six Nations match against England on Saturday.
Nora Stapleton will start at out-half with Lynne Cantwell moving to outside centre alongside Jenny Murphy. Ashleigh Baxter comes in on the right wing with Niamh Kavanagh moving to the replacements bench.
The front row and second row remain unchanged but Siobhan Fleming comes in at blindside flanker for Laura Guest.
The game at Ashbourne RFC will be streamed live on www.IrishRugby.ie with a commentary team that includes former Women’s international Fiona Steed.
Gates open at Ashbourne RFC at 12.30pm with admission prices as follows: a car of four people is €;20, adults and students are €;10 and children are €;5.
Meanwhile, England Women’s head coach Gary Street has made seven changes for their second match of the Championship.
Following last weekend’s runaway 76-0 victory over Scotland, there is a whole new front row with Rochelle Clark and Victoria Fleetwood coming off the bench and Bristol prop Sophie Hemming back in the matchday squad. Richmond’s in-form lock Rowena Burnfield is also back in the second row.
In the backs, Kay Wilson moves from the wing to full-back in the only positional change while Sally Tuson and La Toya Mason both make the starting line-up.
Richmond’s Francesca Matthew also returns to action after narrowly missing out on Sevens selection for last weekend’s World Series in Houston because of injury.
IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exiles), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (UWIC/Exiles); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Mowden Park Sharks/Exiles), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Exiles), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster).
Replacements: Stacey-Lea Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Lauren Day (Waterloo/Exiles), Leigh Dargan (Saracens/Exiles), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Amy Davis (Blackrock College/Ulster), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster).
ENGLAND WOMEN: Kay Wilson (Bristol); Francesca Matthews (Richmond), Abigail Chamberlain (Richmond), Amber Reed (Bristol), Sally Tuson (Bristol); Ceri Large (Worcester), La Toya Mason (Wasps); Rochelle Clark (Worcester), Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield), Sophie Hemming (Bristol), Rowena Burnfield (Richmond), Tamara Taylor (Lichfield), Joanna McGilchrist (Wasps), Hannah Gallagher (Saracens), Sarah Hunter (Lichfield) (capt).
Replacements: Emma Croker (Richmond), Laura Keates (Worcester), Roz Crowley (Lichfield), Rebecca Essex (Richmond), Harriet Millar-Mills (Lichfield), Georgina Gulliver (Lichfield), Lauren Cattell (Saracens), Fiona Pocock (Richmond).
Referee: Andrea Spadoni (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Helen O’Reilly, Edward Kenny (both Ireland)
Pre-Match Quotes: Fiona Coghlan (Ireland Women) – “Having England and France at home it would be brilliant to turn one of them over. I haven’t really looked at it but there’s no English ‘B’ side, it’s girls waiting in the wings to be given their opportunity and I’ve no doubt that they’ll all be looking to cement a spot for the World Cup next year.
“I would not like to see us slip (from finishing third last year), we want to aim higher than that. The primary thing is the World Cup qualification but going into it you just have to focus on every game.
“But after ten years going I’d love a bit of silverware but we have to be realistic about where we are, we have never finished above third.”
Gary Street (England Women) – “As always I want to rotate the squad and give game-time to players. We have brought in some real experience in the front row for Saturday’s game in Rochelle Clark and Sophie Hemming, who share 120 caps between them.
“Ireland always raise their game against us so we know this is going to be one of our toughest games of the tournament. It’s certainly up there as one of the big games of the Championship.
“That said we will be treating it as just another game, our win over Scotland has given the whole squad a real confidence boost and hopefully if we meet our own expectations then the result will take care of itself.”
Pre-Match Links –
Match Facts –
– The Ireland Women have lost just one of their last six matches: 23-6 to England at Esher RFC last season
– Ireland have not lost at home since England last visited Ashbourne on March 18, 2011
– England’s winning run now stretches to 13 matches since their 8-8 draw with New Zealand at Esher in December 2011
– England’s solitary defeat in their last 39 Six Nations encounters since 2005 was 16-15 to Wales Women at Taff’s Well on February 14, 2009
– England have beaten Ireland in all 17 previous clashes in Women’s internationals
– Philip Doyle’s Ireland side opened this season’s Six Nations with a hard-fought 12-10 victory over Wales in Port Talbot. Hooker Gillian Bourke claimed the match-winning try, adding to an earlier converted effort from lock Sophie Spence
– England began their title defence with a thumping 76-0 tiumph over Scotland at Esher. Centre Abi Chamberlain, out-half Ceri Large, number 8 and captain Sarah Hunter and replacement Sally Tuson scored a brace of tries each
Recent Meetings –
2011: Women’s Six Nations: Ireland Women 0 England Women 31, Ashbourne RFC
2012: Women’s Six Nations: England Women 23 Ireland Women 6, Esher RFC