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Women’s Rugby World Cup Preview: Ireland v USA

Women’s Rugby World Cup Preview: Ireland v USA

French Rugby HQ in Marcoussis is the venue for the opening stages of the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup, with a determined Ireland squad beginning their campaign with a crunch clash with the USA.

2014 IRB WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP – POOL B: Friday, August 1

IRELAND WOMEN v USA WOMEN, Marcoussis pitch 3, FFR HQ, 5pm local time/4pm Irish time (live TG4/IRB website)

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Team News: The Ireland team to play the USA in their opening Pool B game of the IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup has been named.

Head coach Philip Doyle has selected an experienced side, with an impressive 14 out of the starting 15 players boasting Grand Slam medals from 2013.

Niamh Briggs is named at full-back with Ashleigh Baxter and Alison Miller completing the back-three combination.

In the centre, the vastly experienced Lynne Cantwell is partnered by Grace Davitt with Nora Stapleton and the recalled Tania Rosser featuring together at half-back.

Captain Fiona Coghlan is joined in the front row by Ailis Egan and hooker Gillian Bourke. Marie Louise Reilly and Sophie Spence link up in a powerful second row pairing with Siobhan Fleming and Claire Molloy joining number 8 Heather O’Brien in the back row.

Speaking ahead of the World Cup opener, Doyle said: “The team selection was a difficult one, we are in a very lucky position of having a strong squad to pick from.

“The atmosphere has been building up in camp all week and it’s time to go. The players can’t wait to get out on the pitch and get the campaign started.”

This much-anticipated clash between Ireland and America will be televised live on TG4, with coverage beginning at 3.50pm Irish time.

Meanwhile, the USA have nine players boasting experience from the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England – in-form winger Vanesha McGee along with Jamie Burke, Sharon Blaney, Emilie Bydwell, Lynelle Kugler, Nathalie Marchino, Naima Reddick, Hannah Stolba and Kittery Wagner.

Blaney, Bydwell, Marchino, and Reddick played in the last match against Ireland during the tournament four years ago, a runaway 40-3 victory for the Eagles.

Number 8 Kate Daley has been chosen as American captain for the sides’ latest duel. Daley captained the team during their recent UK tour matches.

“This has been an amazing three-year journey for the team and we are excited for the challenge of playing Ireland,” remarked Daley.

The Eagles will now put their motto of ‘Final in ’14’ to the test. The slogan is derived from the team’s desire to make it to the final of the World Cup – a feat that has not been accomplished by the US since 1998.

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Women’s Rugby World Cup Fixtures/Results

IRELAND WOMEN: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond/Exile), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), 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), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster).

Replacements: Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Laura Guest (Highfield/Munster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Bristol/Exile), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile).

USA WOMEN: Meya Bizer (Penn State WRFC); Vanesha McGee (New York RC), Akalaini ‘Bui’ Baravilala (Aliamanu All Blues), Emilie Bydwell (San Diego Surfers WRC), Sadie Anderson (Pennsylvania State University); Kimberly Rozier (Glendale Raptors RFC), Jocelyn Tseng (Berkeley All Blues WRC); Hope Rogers (Penn State WRFC), Kathryn Augustyn (Berkeley All Blues WRC), Jamie Burke (Glendale Raptors RFC), Carmen Farmer (Severn River RFC), Sarah Walsh (Berkeley All Blues WRC), Jillion Potter (Glendale Raptors RFC), Lynelle Kugler (Twin Cities Amazons WRC), Kate Daley (North Shore Chicago WRC) (capt).

Replacements: Kittery Wagner (Glendale Raptors RFC), Sarah Chobot (Glendale Raptors RFC), Sarah Wilson (Glendale Raptors RFC), Sharon Blaney (Oregon Sports Union RC), Shaina Turley (San Diego Surfers WRC), Deven Owsiany (Unattached), Hannah Stolba (Glendale Raptors RFC).

Referee: Sherry Trumbull (Canada)
Assistant Referees: Sara Cox (England), Alexandra Pratt (Scotland)

Pre-Match Quotes – Fiona Coghlan (Ireland Women): “Every competition we play in, we want to win. It has to be that way now. USA and New Zealand are both ranked above us, so they’re both dangerous opponents. We need to finish top of our pool or one of the best runners-up – it’s going to be tough.

“The margins are so close at this level, but we have to go into the competition believing we can win it. Getting to a semi-final would be a massive achievement for us and it would show our progression as a team.”

Pete Steinberg (USA Women): “We are looking forward to the test Ireland presents. They are one of the best teams in Europe and we will know a lot about ourselves by the end of the game.

“Winning the tackle contest will be tough and we know they have a great lineout. (Niamh) Briggs is a really dynamic runner and they play a dynamic, wide game.”

Pre-Match Links –

Irish Rugby TV: Lynne Cantwell

Irish Rugby TV: WRWC Town Hall Reception

O’Reilly To Referee Hosts’ Opening Game Of Women’s World Cup

Irish Rugby TV: Irish Ambassador To France Visits Ireland Camp

Irish Rugby TV: Orla Fitzsimons

Irish Rugby TV: Grace Davitt And Greg McWilliams

Recent Meetings –

2010: Women’s Rugby World Cup – Pool B: USA Women 12 Ireland Women 22, Surrey Sports Park; Women’s Rugby World Cup – 5th/8th Place Play-Off: Ireland Women 3 USA Women 40, Surrey Sports Park