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Women’s Rugby World Cup Play-Off Preview: Ireland v France

Women’s Rugby World Cup Play-Off Preview: Ireland v France

A terrific third place finish at the Women’s World Cup is the prize on offer as the Ireland Women look to see off hosts France in Philip Doyle’s final match in charge.


IRELAND WOMEN v FRANCE WOMEN, Stade Jean Bouin, Paris, 4.30pm local time/3.30pm Irish time (live TG4/France 4/IRB website)

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Team News: The Ireland Women’s team to play France in the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup 3rd/4th place play-off on Sunday has been named.


There are two changes to the side that lost out to England in last Wednesday’s semi-final, one in the back-line and the other up front.

Jenny Murphy (pictured below), who makes her first start of the tournament, is named at inside centre with Grace Davitt moving to outside centre. Concussion has ruled out Lynne Cantwell, Ireland’s most-capped player.

In the back row, Siobhan Fleming comes in at blindside flanker and Paula Fitzpatrick moves to number 8 in place of the benched Heather O’Brien.

Philip Doyle, who is stepping down as head coach after the game, said: “It has been a fantastic World Cup for Women’s rugby in Ireland and ideally we will finish it off with a winning performance.”

Sunday’s play-off clash with ‘les Bleues’, which kicks off at 3.30pm Irish time, will be broadcast live on TG4.

Meanwhile, France coaches Christian Galonnier and Nathalie Amiel have made eight personnel changes and one positional switch to the side that lost 18-16 to Canada.

Jessy Tremoulière, Elodie Poublan and Elodie Guiglion all come into a back-line marshalled by regular half-backs Sandrine Agricole, who missed two second half conversions in the semi-final, and Jennifer Troncy.

Lise Arricaste and Christelle Chobet join captain Gaelle Mignot in the front row, lock Sandra Rabier has also been promoted from the bench and powerful ball-carrying number 8 Safi N’Diaye will have Koumiba Djossouvi and Laetitia Grand for company in the back row.

The tournament hosts will be hoping for a repeat of their 19-15 win over Ireland in Pau back in March which clinched their first Grand Slam since 2005.

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Women’s Rugby World Cup Fixtures/Results

IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster) (capt), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College/Leinster).

Replacements: Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Kerrie-Ann Craddock (Saracens/Exile), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Larissa Muldoon (Bristol/Exile), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Hannah Casey (Saracens/Exile).

FRANCE WOMEN: Jessy Tremoulière (Romagnat); Shannon Izar (Lille), Elodie Poublan (Montpellier), Marjorie Mayans (Saint-Orens), Elodie Guiglion (Perpignan); Sandrine Agricole (Rennes), Jennifer Troncy (Montpellier); Lise Arricaste (Lons), Gaelle Mignot (Montpellier) (capt), Christelle Chobet (Lons), Sandra Rabier (Ovalie Caennaise), Assa Koita (Bobigny), Koumiba Djossouvi (Montpellier), Laetitia Grand (Lons), Safi N’Diaye (Montpellier).

Replacements: Laetitia Salles (Lons), Elodie Portaries (Montpellier), Manon André (Saint-Orens), Comba Diallo (Bobigny), Caroline Ladagnous (Lons), Christelle Le Duff (Perpignan), Yanna Rivoalen (Lille).

Referee: Sherry Trumbull (Canada)
Assistant Referees: Sara Cox, Claire Daniels (both England)

Match Odds (Paddy Power): Ireland to win: 11/4; Draw: 20/1; France to win: 1/4

Pre-Match Quotes – Claire Molloy (Ireland Women): “We have parked Wednesday’s defeat and have moved on. We’ll be putting out our strongest team in order to try and get that third place finish.

“It’s crucial for ranking points for the next World Cup and if we can get that, it would make our lives a lot easier going forward. There is still a lot left to play for.

“France are a hugely physical pack, especially their front five. We’re well aware that they’re going to try and bully us up front and it’s up to us to meet that challenge head on.

“Personally, I need to make my tackles, disrupt their possession and help ensure that the scrum is a big improvement from last day. I think that was our poorest scrum performance in a long time.

“As long as I come off the pitch knowing that my pack and my scrum half are happy…then I’ll be satisfied as well.”

Philip Doyle (Ireland Women): “It is the end of an era but the start of a new one. I’m telling you, there is a huge chance to push on and really put Women’s rugby in Ireland on a new standing. I just hope everyone involved grasps it and moves forward.

“The next World Cup is only three years away and it could be in Ireland. There is an awful lot of work to do as certain leaders will not be around. They have to be replaced, and quickly.

“I’m not sure how France are going to react (to their semi-final exit). Will they switch off and be disinterested or pick it up and try to prove a point?

“I know where we are coming from. Our mindset is to go out and prove a point to ourselves, firstly, and then to our supporters.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Alison Miller’s Play-Off Preview

Half-Back Duo Determined To Finish On A High

Doyle Backs Players To Bounce Back In Play-Off

Video Highlights: Ireland Women 7 England Women 40

Video Highlights: France Women 16 Canada Women 18

Recent Meetings –

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

2013: Women’s Six Nations: Ireland Women 15 France Women 10, Ashbourne RFC

2014: Women’s Six Nations: France Women 19 Ireland Women 15, Stade du Hameau, Pau