Tom Tierney makes one change for England decider

Sophie Spence will partner Marie-Louise Reilly, who is set to win her 50th cap

Sophie Spence will again partner Marie-Louise Reilly, who is set to win her 50th Ireland cap this Friday. Photo: Inpho

Sophie Spence will again partner Marie-Louise Reilly, who is set to win her 50th Ireland cap this Friday. Photo: Inpho

 

Tom Tierney has made one change to his Ireland women’s team to face England in their Six Nations Grand Slam showdown on Friday, as scrum-half Larissa Muldoon moves from the replacements into the starting XV.

The remainder of the line-up is unchanged as props Lindsay Peat and Ailis Egan join Leah Lyons in the front row for the fifth successive game.

In the second-row, Sophie Spence will again partner Marie-Louise Reilly, who is set to win her 50th Ireland cap this Friday.

In the back-row, flankers Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy pack down with number eight and captain Paula Fitzpatrick for their sixth consecutive game in a row.

Out-half Nora Stapleton is partnered by Muldoon at half-back and in the centres, Sene Naoupu will again partner Jenny Murphy.

In the back-three, Alison Miller and Hannah Tyrrell line out on the wings, with Kim Flood at full-back.

Speaking ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day game, Head Coach Tierney said:

“There’s a very strong spirit in this squad that’s been developing nicely over the last few months and, while the performances to date haven’t been as accurate or as clinical as we would have liked, we’ve ground out four wins in a row to set up a very big game this Friday evening in Donnybrook.

“England are arriving to Dublin on the back of a huge win against Scotland so their confidence will be high, and deservedly so.

“The have shown throughout the Championship that they can score tries from anywhere and they have a strong and skilful pack as well.

“From our point of view, we have a huge opportunity on St. Patrick’s Day and for us it’s about looking to rectify some of the areas of our game that we haven’t been happy with over the past few weeks and if we can make those small changes, then Friday evening’s game should be a great one.”

Friday night’s match is part of a double-header in Donnybrook, as the Ireland U20s face their English counterparts in the earlier game at 6pm.

Ireland Women v England, Friday 17th March, 2017, 8pm, Donnybrook Stadium:

Kim Flood (Railway Union / Leinster), Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere / Leinster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere / Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere / Connacht), Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere / Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union / Leinster), Leah Lyons (Highfield / Munster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere / Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere / Leinster), Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere / Leinster), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians / Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol / Connacht), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College / Leinster) (C).

Replacements: Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians / Connacht), Ilse Van Staden (Cooke / Ulster), Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians / Connacht), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union / Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Tullamore / Connacht), Mary Healy (Galwegians / Connacht), Nikki Caughey (Railway Union / Ulster), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians / Connacht).

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