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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

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

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