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Six Nations Preview: Ireland Women v France Women

Six Nations Preview: Ireland Women v France Women

A bumper crowd is expected at Ashbourne RFC tonight as the Ireland Women’s team bid to make it four successive wins in this year’s Six Nations, with chief chasers France standing in their way. You can also follow the match via the live streams on Irishrugby.ie and RTE.ie, and 2FM will have live radio commentary too.


IRELAND WOMEN (1st) v FRANCE WOMEN (2nd), Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm (Irish Rugby TV live stream/RTÉ website/2FM)

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Team News: The Ireland Women’s team to play France Women at Ashbourne RFC on Friday night has been named.

Head coach Philip Doyle has named an unchanged side, backing the players who overcame their Scottish counterparts in their last outing to secure a famous Triple Crown.

Speaking ahead of the game against France, Doyle said: “It is great to have our goals already ready reached for this season with Rugby World Cup qualification and the Triple Crown secured.

“That being said, this squad has further goals and a win over France will certainly get us a step closer to those.

“Having seeing France’s very strong performance a fortnight ago (against England), we know that this fixture will be a very tight one but will certainly be very entertaining for the crowd.

“We are looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd in Ashbourne, they always give us great support and can really make a difference for the team on the pitch.”

The game will be streamed live on Irish Rugby TV and also carried on RTE.ie with a commentary team that includes Adrian O’Farrell and former Women’s international Fiona Steed.

In addition, RTÉ’s 2FM will have live commentary of the game at Ashbourne RFC with Michael Corcoran and former Ireland international Rosie Foley.

Meanwhile, the French management have made four changes in personnel to the team that beat England 30-20 at Twickenham last time out.

France scored five tries in that historic win at RFU headquarters, including three from backs Caroline Ladagnous, Lucille Godiveau and Elodie Guiglion.

Coached by Christian Galonnier, they suffered a surprising 13-12 loss to Italy at the start of the Championship but bounced back into title contention with victories over Wales (32-0 at home) and defending champions England.

Julie Billes and Marjorie Mayans, both used as replacements against England, come in on the right wing and at inside centre respectively for the Ireland game.

The 65-times capped Sandrine Agricole holds onto the number 10 jersey, with the returning Aurélie Bailon, who is back from a broken thumb, kept in reserve.

The back row, headed by the strong-carrying Safi N’Diaye, is unchanged as is the second row partnership of Sandra Rabier and Marine De Nadaï.

Hélène Ezanno is the only player retained in the front row, with Laetitia Salles and Christelle Chobet making way for Gaëlle Mignot and Elodie Portaries at hooker and tighthead prop respectively.

* Tickets for the game, priced at 10 euro for adults and 5 euro for children, OAPs and students, can be purchased in advance from the following outlets: JR’s Newagents in Main Street, Ashbourne and Allrooms, 31, Upper Liffey Street, Dublin 1 (beside the side entrance to M&S at the Jervis Street Centre).

You can also pay at the gate – adults €;10, car of 4 people €;20, students, kids and OAPs €;5.

The Old Belvedere Women’s team run a supporters’ bus from Dublin to Ashbourne for 20 euro which includes transport to the game and entry to the match. Please contact Jenny to book your spot on the supporters’ bus now: jennysynnott@yahoo.com.

IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (UWIC/Exile); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Mowden Park Sharks/Exile), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Exile), Joy Neville (UL Bohemians/Munster).

Replacements: Stacey-Lea Kennedy (City of Derry/Ulster), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Lauren Day (Waterloo/Exile), Leigh Dargan (Saracens/Exile), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Amy Davis (Blackrock College/Ulster), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster).

FRANCE WOMEN: Caroline Ladagnous (Lons); Julie Billes (Perpignan), Marjorie Mayans (Saint Orens), Lucille Godiveau (Rennes), Elodie Guiglion (Perpignan); Sandrine Agricole (Rennes), Marie Alice Yahé (Perpignan); Hélène Ezanno (Rennes), Gaëlle Mignot (Montpellier), Elodie Portaries (Montpellier), Sandra Rabier (Ovalie Caennaise), Marine De Nadaï (Montpellier), Coumba Tombe Diallo (Bobigny), Laetitia Grand (Lons), Safi N’Diaye (Montpellier).

Replacements: Laetitia Salles (La Valette), Assa Koïta (Bordeaux), Christelle Chobet (Lons), Lenaig Corson (Rennes), Manon André (Saint Orens), Jessy Trémoulière (Romagnat), Aurélie Bailon (Montpellier), Jade Le Pesq (Rennes).

Referee: Nicky Inwood (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Ken Henley-Willis, Gary Glennon (both Ireland)

Pre-Match Quotes: Ashleigh Baxter (Ireland Women) – “The French have a lot of hard runners in the backs and a very strong pack, so it’s going to be a very physical game. They will take advantage of any mistakes we make so we will have to be clinical if we want to come out of it with a positive result.

“Our improvements have all come from great coaching and commitment from players. Everybody within the squad has given 100% all year, committing to a tough strength and conditioning schedule, working on skills and striving to improve.

“We train every weekend in Dublin, have two sessions with a conditioner during the week in our provinces and have two other running sessions to do in our own time during the week. We are lucky to have such a strong management and coaching side.”

Pre-Match Links –

Tickets On Sale For Ireland Women’s Game

Irish Rugby TV: Scotland Women v Ireland Women Highlights

Irish Rugby TV: Jenny Murphy

Irish Rugby TV: Leigh Dargan

RTE To Carry Irish Rugby TV Live Stream Of Ireland Women

Match Facts –

– Ireland secured a first ever Triple Crown with their 30-3 victory over Scotland in round 3

– The Ireland Women have lost just one of their last eight matches at this level: 23-6 to England at Esher last March

– The Ireland Women have won their last five home games, all played at Ashbourne RFC

– France Women’s only defeat in their last five matches was 13-12 to Italy in Rovato on February 2

– Ireland’s only victory in 19 previous encounters with France Women was 7-5 in Ashbourne on February 6, 2009

– Ireland winger Alison Miller is out on her own as the top try scorer in this year’s Women’s Six Nations with five tries in three outings, including that famous hat-trick against defending champions England

– Miller’s back-three colleague, full-back Niamh Briggs, has scored 27 points so far (two tries, four conversions and three penalties), putting her second behind leading scorer Amber Reed from England (31 points)

Recent Meetings –

2010: Women’s Six Nations: France Women 19 Ireland Women 9, Stade des Allees, Blois

2011: Women’s Six Nations: Ireland Women 12 France Women 14, Ashbourne RFC

2012: Women’s Six Nations: France Women 8 Ireland Women 7, Stade du Hameau, Pau