The Ireland Women’s team, sponsored by Aon, has been selected for their Women’s Six Nations second round match against Scotland at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday (kick-off 7.35pm). The game will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2.
Head coach Adam Griggs has made three personnel changes and one positional switch to the starting XV from last week’s 51-7 defeat to England. Portlaoise youngster Emma Hooban (21) steps up for her first Six Nations start at hooker, with the versatile Leah Lyons moving to the tighthead position.
Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday continue together as the second row pairing, while Cork native Anna Caplice, who impressed off the bench against England, slots in at blindside flanker alongside Claire Molloy – the most experienced member of the squad with 65 caps – and captain Ciara Griffin, who wins her 25th cap this weekend.
There is just one change in the back-line where winger Alison Miller, almost exactly twelve 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 a potent 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 number 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 Enniskillen native Claire Boles both added to the bench.
If Boles were to be called upon, it would be two international debuts for Ulster Women in successive weeks, following Kathryn Dane’s maiden appearance versus England last weekend. Dane is once again named on the bench this week, as is Ulster team-mate Claire McLaughlin.
With his charges determined to get back to winning ways, 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 & Replacements (v Scotland Women, 2019 Women’s Six Nations Championship, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, Friday, February 8, kick-off 7.35pm):
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 (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
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
IRELAND WOMEN’S SIX NATIONS RESULTS/FIXTURES:
Friday, February 1:
IRELAND WOMEN 7 ENGLAND WOMEN 51, Energia Park, Donnybrook
Friday, February 8:
SCOTLAND WOMEN v IRELAND WOMEN, Scotstoun Stadium, Glasgow, 7.35pm (live RTÉ)
Saturday, February 23:
ITALY WOMEN v IRELAND WOMEN, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, 7.30pm local time/6.30pm Irish time (live RTÉ/Eurosport Italia)
Saturday, March 9:
IRELAND WOMEN v FRANCE WOMEN, Energia Park, Donnybrook, 7pm (live RTÉ/France Televisions) – Buy Tickets
Sunday, March 17:
WALES WOMEN v IRELAND WOMEN, Cardiff Arms Park, 1.30pm (live RTÉ/S4C)