Tom Tierney urges Ireland women’s side not to be overawed by New Zealand test
Preview Ireland v New Zealand; Sunday – Belfield Bowl (2.0)
Ireland’s captain Niamh Briggs has recovered from the hamstring injury that saw her miss the England and Canada games. Photograph: Inpho
Ireland women’s coach Tom Tierney went for a slight shift in emphasis in terms of team selection for the third and final match in the November Test series against New Zealand.
A desire to test the full depth in the Irish squad in the opening two games, which led to defeats by England (12-10) and Canada (48-7) has been replaced by a commitment to picking in-form players for the third match against the number one ranked side in the world, New Zealand.
Tierney explained: “We’re trying to give everyone an opportunity against very good opposition so we’d get a truer reflection. We were always going to do that in the first two games and then whoever we felt was right for a one-off against New Zealand is how we’ve went about it. Training well “The girls that are there are (picked) on merit, they’re training very well and like any team that plays against any New Zealand team, it’s very exciting, so we just have to do our job and make sure we don’t let the occasion get to us.”
Ireland may draw down on their victory over New Zealand in the 2014 World Cup as evidence that they can beat them but it’s going to have little relevance come Sunday afternoon.
Ireland’s captain Niamh Briggs has recovered from the hamstring injury that saw her miss the England and Canada games and she resumes at fullback. Her return sees Mairead Coyne switch to the right wing. Nicole Fowley and Sene Naoupu, form the midfield partnership for the third week in a row.
The Donegal duo of Nora Stapleton and Larissa Muldoon form the half-back partnership. Up front, the same eight that started against England two weeks ago return.
An improvement in performance rather than outright victory would constitute a decent return from this Test match.
IRELAND: N Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster, capt); M Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht), N Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht), S Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls), C McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster); N Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), L Muldoon (Railway Union); L Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), C Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), A Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster); M L Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), O Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster); C Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster), C Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), P Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s/Leinster). Replacements: L Lyons (Highfield/Munster), F Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), F Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster), N Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht), C Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), M Healy (Galwegians/Connacht), J Shiels (Old Belvedere/Leinster), N Kavanagh (UL Bohemians/Munster).