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Three changes to Ireland XV for Women’s Six Nations clash with Scotland

Three changes to Ireland XV for Women’s Six Nations clash with Scotland
  • Hooban, Caplice and Miller come into the starting XV
  • Ireland looking for first Women's Six Nations win of the campaign after defeat against England in opener
  • Griggs: “We need to build on those positives now and make improvements in other areas of our game to become more consistent and force more pressure on our opponents."

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has made three changes to his Ireland side for this weekend’s Women’s Six Nations clash against Scotland.

He has shuffled the pack with Portlaoise youngster Emma Hooban, 21, coming into the front row for her first Women’s Six Nations start at hooker, with the versatile Leah Lyons moving to tighthead in place of Fiona Reidy and Laura Feely starting at loosehead.

Anna Caplice, who impressed off the bench in last weekend’s 51-7 defeat to England, comes into the back row in alongside Claire Molloy – the most experienced member of the squad with 65 caps – and captain Ciara Griffin.

Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday continue together as the second-row pairing.

There is just one change in the backline where winger Alison Miller, almost exactly 12 months on from breaking her leg against Italy, comes in for her first Ireland start since then.

Having got 27 minutes under her belt last Friday, Miller makes up the back three with Lauren Delany and Eimear Considine.

Sene Naoupu wins her 30th cap alongside her Leinster team-mate Michelle Claffey in midfield, with the Sligo-born Nicole Fowley retaining the No.10 jersey outside Ailsa Hughes.

There could be two Ireland debuts at Scotstoun with Sevens regulars Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, fresh from playing her part in the team’s historic fourth-place finish in Sydney, and Claire Boles both added to the bench.

Griggs said: “The game against England last week was undeniably a tough start to the Women’s Six Nations and while the final scoreline was far from ideal, there are positives we will take from that game. Our set-piece was solid throughout and we were able to challenge England at times during the game.

“We need to build on those positives now and make improvements in other areas of our game to become more consistent and force more pressure on our opponents.

“Scotland will bring new challenges and we know they’re also hurting from a loss last weekend.

“They will come out strong in front of their home crowd in Glasgow and will want to start the game with intent.

“We need to weather that initial pressure and stay focused on our game and what we can bring, which I know the team are looking forward to.”

 

Ireland Women’s Team (v Scotland Women, 2019 Women’s Six Nations, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Friday, February 8, kick-off 7.35pm, live on RTÉ 2):

15. Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo Ladies/IQ Rugby)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)
13. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
12. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
10. Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)

1. Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht)
2. Emma Hooban (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
3. Leah Lyons (Harlequins)
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/Connacht)
6. Anna Caplice (Richmond)
7. Claire Molloy (Wasps)
8. Ciara Griffin (c) (UL Bohemians/Munster)

 

Replacements:

16. Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
17. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
19. Claire Boles (Railway Union/Ulster) *
20. Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
21. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
22. Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
23. Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level