Budding Ireland Women players face tough Canada Test
Tierney leaves veterans on bench to give Nichola Fryday and Anna Caplice their debut
Ireland Women coach Tom Tierney has left Larissa Muldoon and veteran prop Ailis Egan in his reserves for the match against Canada. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Another selection by coach Tom Tierney that has the August 2017 World Cup in mind. Tierney used much of this year’s Six Nations to try to build a squad capable of finding safe passage out of a pool that includes France and Australia.
Sophie Spence (concussion) is still unfit for action but team captain Niamh Briggs may recover from hamstring trouble in time to face New Zealand’s Black Ferns next weekend. Briggs resumed training this week.
Claire Molloy, however, was forced off in the defeat to England and remains unavailable.
Considering scrumhalf Larissa Muldoon and veteran prop Ailis Egan are being held in reserve, victory against Canada, the 2014 World Cup finalists, would be a surprise and show genuine progress.
Nichola Fryday makes her debut at secondrow while Anna Caplice gets an opportunity at openside in place of Molloy.
Canada are also shaping up for the long season ahead with their bronze medal Sevens players from Rio returning on this European tour.
That includes captain and number eight Kelly Russell and one of the world’s fastest wingers Magali Harvey.
Ireland: M Coyne (Connacht); N Kavanagh (Munster), N Fowley (Connacht), S Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls), A Miller (Connacht); N Caughey (Ulster), M Healy (Connacht); F Hayes (Munster), Z Grattage (Munster), F Reidy (Munster); K Norris (Leinster), N Fryday (Leinster)*; C Cooney (Leinster), A Caplice (Munster)*, P Fitzpatrick (Leinster, capt).
Replacements: L Lyons (Munster), L Peat (Leinster), A Egan (Leinster), E Anthony (Munster), C Pearse (Munster), L Muldoon (Railway Union), J Shiels (Leinster), C McLaughlin (Ulster).