2017-18 Interprovincials Munster Women Provincial Rugby Women Ulster Women

Interprovincial: Teams up for Munster v Ulster

The teams were announced earlier today for the Second Round match of the Women’s Interprovincial Series between Munster and Ulster.

Ulster have made a couple of changes, Peita McAlister comes into the centre and Nikki Caughey moves to fullback. Up front Neve Jones claims a starting spot at hooker with Beth Cregan moving to the back row.

Munster have also made a couple of changes with with Laura O’Mahony moving to fullback and Laura Sheehan promoted from the bench to the wing.

Jones’ inclusion at hooker sets up an interesting battle for the youngster against, Ireland’s best hooker of the last ten years, Gill Bourke. I suspect it is a few games too early for Jones but challenging herself against the likes of Bourke is where she needs to be.

Generally, both teams will be familiar to each other with Munster starting with twelve UL Bohemian players and Ulster starting with ten players who have turned out for Cooke this season.

My feeling is that Ulster missed their chance of causing an upset last weekend. They had Leinster on the ropes  for the opening 20 minutes and failed to take advantage, their back line too lateral and too predictable. I suspect this is why the experienced Caughey has been moved to full back, to offer an option from deep, though my preference would have been to move Eliza Downey to the centre and McAlister to the wing. However McAlister and Brittany Hogan should offer a brick wall defence in the middle of the park.

As it is, discussing the niceties of the back line is probably a moot point as this match will be won or lost up front and it’s here that the experienced Munster pack have a distinct advantage.

Of course, Ilse Van Staden will continue to anchor the Ulster scrum and disrupt the Munster one but if Ulster are going to compete in this one they will need to treasure the ball and go into contact a lot lower than they did last week. They need to stop this grizzly Munster pack from weaving their magic.

The bulk of this Munster team threw a big smothering blanket over Railway Union a couple of weeks ago and I suspect they took Connacht for granted last time out, many of the players suffering their first “competitive” defeat this season in that match against the Westies.

There will be a rebound and, I suspect, it’ll take a huge effort from the Ulster pack if they are going to kick start their campaign at Garryowen on Saturday afternoon.

Munster Women Ulster Women
Laura O’Mahoney15Nikki Caughey
Laura Sheehan14Emma Jordan
Aine Staunton13Brittany Hogan
Niamh Kavanagh12Peita McAlister
Syphonia Pua11Eliza Downey
Rachel Allen10Larissa Muldoon
Ellen Murphy9Kathryn Dane
Fiona Hayes1Ilse van Staden
Gillian Bourke2Neve Jones
Fiona Reidy3Sorcha Mac Laimhin
Siobhan McCarthy4Hannah Beattie
Chloe Pearse5Rebecca Smyth
Edel Murphy6Beth Cregan
Siobhan Fleming7Gemma McCutcheon
Ciara Griffin8Lauren Maginnes
Leah Lyons16Lesley Megarity
Maura Collins17Helen McGhee
Zoe Grattage18Aishling O’Connell
Roisin Ormond19Amanda Maginn
Anna Caplice20Storm Cobain
Christine Arthurs21Amy Graham
Valerie Power22Vicky Irwin
Linda McNamara23Teah Maguire

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