Ireland Women have announced a huge 48 player training squad for the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup which starts on 9th August 2017. With the squad set to be reduced to 28, I believe, for the actual tournament, there will be a fair bit of culling carried out in June!
The squad includes five Ulster players, the most interesting being the return of Ireland Sevens player Ashleigh Baxter, who starred on the wing for Ireland during the 2014 World Cup.
This time Baxter, who would have been a certain starter if she had stayed with the XV’s programme, joins this group as a wing forward. I would guess she is being viewed as back up to Claire Molloy, but has limited experience in this position.
Fellow Cooke player Ilse van Staden is the only other Ulster forward and after strong performances from the bench in the recent Six Nation’s she should be there when they get to the business end.
The halfback pairing of Ulster’s Larissa Muldoon and Nikki Caughey also stand a fair chance of coming out the right side of the cull with the Railway Union players perhaps the form halfbacks over the last few weeks as Railway pushed UL Bohs all the way in the League and the Cup.
Last, but not least, we have the third Cooke player in Claire McLaughlin. McLaughlin picked up an injury against France in the Six Nations but she had shown impressive form in the November series, as well as against France, and if she recovers fully her versatility should see her through.
The rest of the squad is basically a mix of players that have been involved since November, which came to 41, plus six uncapped players from the Seven’s squad plus Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird – who moved to England during the season and is currently playing at Aylesford Bulls.
Ireland Women World Cup Training Squad.
|Elaine Anthony (Munster)||Niamh Briggs (Munster)|
|Ashleigh Baxter (Ulster)||Nikki Caughey (Ulster)|
|Anna Caplice (Munster)||Eimear Considine (Munster)|
|Ciara Cooney (Leinster)||Mairead Coyne (Connacht)|
|Jeamie Deacon (Leinster)||Nicole Cronin (Munster)*|
|Ailis Egan (Leinster)||Aoife Doyle (Munster)|
|Laura Feely (Connacht)*||Katie Fitzhenry (Leinster)|
|Jennie Finlay (Leinster)||Kim Flood (Leinster)|
|Paula Fitzpatrick (Leinster)||Stacey Flood (Leinster) *|
|Orla Fitzsimons (Leinster)||Nicole Fowley (Connacht)|
|Nichola Fryday (Connacht)||Louise Galvin (Munster) *|
|Ciara Griffin (Munster)||Mary Healy (Connacht)|
|Leah Lyons (Munster)||Eve Higgins (Leinster) *|
|Claire Molloy (Connacht)||Ailsa Hughes (Leinster)|
|Cliodhna Moloney (Leinster)||Niamh Kavanagh (Munster)|
|Heather O’Brien (Munster)||Claire McLaughlin (Ulster)|
|Ciara O’Connor (Connacht)||Alison Miller (Connacht)|
|Ruth O’Reilly (Connacht)||Larissa Muldoon (Ulster)|
|Lindsay Peat (Leinster)||Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum RFC) *|
|Marie-Louise Reilly (Leinster)||Jenny Murphy (Leinster)|
|Sophie Spence (Leinster)||Amee-Leigh Murphy-Crowe (Munster) *|
|Ilse Van Staden (Ulster)||Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls)|
|Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Munster)*|
|Nora Stapleton (Leinster)|
|Hannah Tyrrell (Leinster)|
|Megan Williams (St. Mary’s College RFC) *|