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Six Nations Preview: Ireland Women v Italy Women

Six Nations Preview: Ireland Women v Italy Women

After the disappointment of their abandoned opening match and an agonising one-point defeat to France, the Ireland Women will be champing at the bit to post their opening win of the 2012 Six Nations by overcoming Italy at Ashbourne RFC.

2012 WOMEN’S RBS 6 NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIP: Friday, February 24

IRELAND WOMEN (4th) v ITALY WOMEN (6th), Ashbourne RFC, 7.30pm

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Team News: The Ireland Women’s team to play Italy in the RBS Women’s 6 Nations has been named by head coach Philip Doyle. In addition, a new date for the abandoned game against Wales has also been confirmed.

The Irish management has kept faith with the same starting line-up and replacements that were narrowly defeated 8-7 by France a fortnight ago.

In other news, the Ireland v Wales match, which was called off at half-time due to a deterioration of weather conditions, has been rescheduled to take place at Ashbourne RFC on Saturday, March 3 with a 2.30pm kick-off.

Admission to the Ireland Women’s home matches is €;20 per car or €;10 per adult and €;5 per child.

There will be a coach to all of the Women’s games leaving Old Belvedere RFC (Anglesea Road in Dublin 4) approximately an hour before kick-off. It is open to anyone.

The coach will return to Old Belvedere, making one stop in the city centre, approximately three hours after the match ends.

Return fare is €;20 and includes your ticket into the match and two free bottles at the bar. Please contact Jenny on 0833766401 with any questions.

Meanwhile, the Italian management have made a number of changes to the team that lost 43-3 to reigning champions England in Recce last time out.

Michela Sillari will start at outside centre, replacing Maria Grazia Cioffi to win her second cap. At the other end of the scale, Benetton Treviso out-half Michela Tondinelli will be making her 80th international appearance.

The Italians have travelled over with an inexperienced replacements bench, but prop Elisa Chucchiella (43 caps) and back rowers Giuliana Campanella (54) and Silvia Gaudino (44) are all well used to this level of rugby.

Their starting pack contains one change from the England game with Sara Pettinelli making way in the second row for Cristina Molic.

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/Connacht), 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).

ITALY WOMEN: Veronica Schiavon (ASD Rugby Riviera Del Brenta); Manuela Furlan (Benetton Rugby Treviso), Michela Sillari (Rugby Colorno FC SRL SSD), Paola Zangirolami (Valsugana Rugby Padova ASD), Maria Diletta Veronese (Valsugana Rugby Padova ASD); Michela Tondinelli (Benetton Rugby Treviso), Sara Barattin (Rugby Casale ASD); Elisa Chucchiella (Red&Blu Rugby ASD), Sara Zanon (Benetton Rugby Treviso), Lucia Gai (ASD Rugby Riviera Del Brenta), Flavia Severin (Benetton Rugby Treviso), Cristina Molic (ASD Rugby Riviera Del Brenta), Michela Este (Benetton Rugby Treviso), Giuliana Campanella (Red&Blu Rugby ASD), Silvia Gaudino (ASD Rugby Monza).

Replacements: Debora Ballarini (ASD Mustang Rugby Pesaro), Melissa Bettoni (Red&Blu Rugby ASD), Alice Trevisan (ASD Rugby Riviera Del Brenta), Mariachiara Nespoli (ASD Rugby Riviera Del Brenta), Vanessa Chindamo (ASD Rugby Monza), Chiara Castellarin (Rugby Colorno FC SRL SSD), Sofia Stefan (Valsugana Rugby Padova ASD).

Referee: Joyce Henry (Canada)

Pre-Match Quotes: Philip Doyle (Ireland Women) – “Following a very good performance against France in Pau last time out, all the girls played extremely well and we did not see the need to make changes.

“Italy are a formidable opposition, we are under no illusions about the strength of this side. We have trained well and are looking forward to playing back in front of a home crowd.”

Andrea di Giandomenico (Italy Women) – “We need to consolidate the progress made up until now and to focus on the growth of the squad. I have a lot of faith in this group of players.

“I believe in our work because we all know we have a few difficulties but we are always striving to achieve our goals. Against Ireland the important thing is to realise our potential and to bring home a victory.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Philip Doyle

Irish Rugby TV: Joy Neville

Irish Rugby TV: Larissa Muldoon

Recent Meetings –

2009: Women’s RBS 6 Nations: Italy Women 17 Ireland Women 35, Stadio Natali, Colleferro

2010: Women’s RBS 6 Nations: Ireland Women 22 Italy Women 5, Ashbourne RFC

2011: Women’s RBS 6 Nations: Italy Women 5 Ireland Women 26, Stadio Mario Battaglini, Rovigo