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Ulster halfbacks Jemma Jackson and Imogen Porter grabbed tries last time Munster visited Belfast.

Ulster halfbacks Jemma Jackson and Imogen Porter grabbed tries last time Munster visited Belfast.

Ulster Women kick of their interprovincial series tomorrow afternoon at Ravenhill against Munster Women. (KO 3:00pm)

Head Coach Jonathan Gillespie has handed first competitive starts to Queen’s University talented backs Peita McAlister and Emma Jordan, as well as Cooke openside flanker Hannah Kilgore and Exiles fullback Vicky Irwin.

Ulster

15 Vicky Irwin
14 Emma Jordan
13 Peita McAlister
12 Claire McLaughlin
11 Zoe Templeton
10 Jemma Jackson
9 Imogen Porter
1 Ilse Van Staden
2 Lesley Megarity
3 Nikita Armstrong
4 Sorcha Chipperfield
5 Lizzie Ballentine
6 Shirelle Wilson
7 Hannah Kilgore
8 Lauren Maginnes
16 Shannon Heapes
17 Janine Mullan
18 Sabrina Higgins
19 Laura Johnston
20 Rebecca Smyth
21 Noreen Nethercot
22 Steffi Clarke
23 Stacey Sloan

I suspect it will be a baptism of fire against a comparatively strong Munster side who are able to call World Cup players Fiona Hayes and Laura Guest back into the squad alongside Ireland squad regular Ashling Hutchens.

Ulster on the other hand will be without World Cup players Ashleigh Baxter and Grace Davitt and the injured internationals Stacey Lea Kennedy and Amy Davis. The experience of Davitt and the drive of Kennedy will be particularly hard to replace.

However in Jemma Jackson, Peta McAllister and Claire McLaughlin the Queen’s University dominated backline does feature three players who should go far in the game and I must say I am looking forward to seeing the McLaughlin/McAlister centre pairing and getting my first look at full back Vicky Irwin plus I’ll be delighted to see FRU favourite Steffi Clarke get a run out from the bench!

Munster

15 Mairead Kelly
14 Debhile Nic A Bhaird
13 Ger Rea
12 Nicola Scully
11 Ashling Hutchings
10 Laura O’Mahony
9 Mona Fehily
1 Fiona Hayes
2 Amy Desmond
3 Leah Lyons
4 Gerda Coyne
5 Elaine Anthony 
6 Roisin Ormond
7 Ciara Griffin
8 Laura Guest
16 Kate Sheehan
17 Maura Collins
18 Leah Barbour
19 Maeve Darcy
20 Marie Eviston
21 Ayesha Roche
22 Mollie O’Donnel
23 Michelle Barry

The backs, though inexperienced, should be there or there abouts however I do have my concerns at what is going to be a small pack up front.

The forwards do feature the experienced Lizzy Ballentine, Nikita Armstrong and Sorcha Chipperfield, though they will all be playing in largely unfamiliar positions and,  I must say, the new second row pairing of Chipperfield and Ballentine is not the biggest I’ve seen!

However, with, I believe, none of the Ireland World Cup front liners available throughout the series, it is a chance for the players on the pitch to make their mark – so all to play for in what’s going to be a busy two years for the Women’s international programme! #SUFTUW

Children under 16 will gain free entry to this fixture, with adult tickets available for just £5. You can CLICK HERE TO BUY NOW to avoid lengthy queues at the gate. Please note that entry to this fixture is not valid with an Ulster Rugby Season Ticket.

 

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