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2016-17 International Rugby Women Ireland Women

Women: Teams up for Ireland v England

The teams for the first Women’s Autumn International were announced yesterday as Ireland officially start their preparations for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. 

It’s been good for Ireland Women that the International panel has got considerably more game time in the All Ireland League this season but attrition appears to have left coach Tom Tierney light on options, with quite a few of the 2014 WRWC legacy players missing for various reasons. Niamh Briggs and Sophie Spence being two notable absentees. 

It’s also a team light on Ulster based players, there being none in the squad; though Dublin based ex Belfast Harlequins player Nikki Caughey has been included on the bench. Former Ulster player Larissa Muldoon starts at scrum half and Poppy Cleall, who played for Ulster in 2011 alongside Caughey and Muldoon, will pick up her fifth England cap should she make an appearance from the bench. 

Cooke’s Claire McLaughlin, who is in the training squad, has only had one competitive game this season, due to rehab,  but may feature later in the series. 

Nicole Fowley of Galwegians will start for her first cap alongside her former Galwegians teammate Sene Naoupu in the centre, while Highfield’s Leah Lyons and UL Bohemians Chloe Pearse will hope to pick up their first caps from the bench

It’s an intense series for Ireland who in England, Canada and New Zealand, face the top three Women’s teams in the world game on successive weekends, but, after years of neglect in the women’s game, it’s exactly the sort of opposition that needs to be lined up on a regular basis. 

However, I suspect it will be a challenge too far this time round but, to me, this series is not about the results but rather the performance as Ireland look to boost their strength in depth, their lack of which ultimately stopped them reaching the 2014 WRWC Final. 

The FRU Predicts: It’s not how you start but how you finish will be my mantra as I expect Ireland to improve over this series. I’m not expecting a classic here – a low scoring game with England coming out on top. Boo!

IRELAND   ENGLAND
Mairead Coyne 15 Danielle Waterman
Niamh Kavanagh 14 Kay Wilson
Nicole Fowley 13 Claire Allan
Sene Naoupu 12 Rachael Burford
Alison Miller 11 Fiona Pocock
Nora Stapleton 10 Emily Scott
Larissa Muldoon 9 La Toya Mason
Lindsay Peat 1 Rochelle Clark
Cliodhna Moloney 2 Vicky Fleetwood
Ailis Egan 3 Laura Keates
Marie Louise Reilly 4 Tamara Taylor
Orla Fitzsimons 5 Harriet Millar-Mills
Ciara Griffin 6 Alex Matthews
Claire Molloy 7 Marlie Packer
Paula Fitzpatrick 8 Sarah Hunter
     
Leah Lyons 16 Amy Cokayne
Fiona Hayes 17 Vickii Cornborough
Fiona Reidy 18 Sarah Bern
Katie Norris 19 Poppy Cleall
Chloe Pearse 20 Izzy Noel-Smith
Mary Healy 21 Natasha Hunt
Nikki Caughey 22 Katy Mclean
Jackie Shiels 23 Ceri Large