The teams have been announced for the Women’s Six Nations match between Ireland and Wales that takes place at Energia Park, Donnybrook on Sunday at 13:00.
Ireland make three changes to the starting line up with Eimear Considine, Claire Keohane and Judy Bobbett coming in for Aoife Doyle, Ellen Murphy and Nichola Fryday with Doyle the only one to be retained on the bench The bench will also see Anne-Marie O’Hora and Larissa Muldoon for the first time this season, O’Hora coming in for Leah Lyons.
Wales have only made two changes with Manon Johnes and Alisha Butchers set to make their first starts of the Women’s Six Nations having impressed off the bench last week.
Despite Ireland drawing heavy on a win against Wales, on a squad hit out a couple of weeks ago, it’s the Welsh that have had the upper hand in this fixture since their 27 – 17 win against Ireland at Ravenhill in RWC2017 with the Welsh winning three from four since that fateful night.
There are 27 players involved from their last Six Nations meeting a year ago, 12 Irish and 17 Welsh.
However, there is a bit of confusion in the Welsh camp at present with their coach Rowland Phillips still “on a break” and key players Sioned Harries and captain Carys Phillips, the daughter of Rowland Phillips, falling out of favour. I don’t know how much that affected Wales in their loss to Italy last weekend, where they appeared to have a torrid time in the line out, but I suspect they are a team that will improve rapidly in this tournament as acting coach Chris Horsman makes his changes.
Worryingly for Ireland, Wales did do well in the scrum, getting a few penalties against an historically powerful Italian side, and with Ireland worked over somewhat by Scotland in this area it has to be a concern.
Ireland’s front row also accounted for 10 of their 19 penalties, 19 being the largest infringement count by some margin over the weekend amongst all of the six women’s sides. With experienced South African referee Aimee Barrett-Theron in charge this weekend they will need to work hard on their discipline.
Having said that, it’s still a good chance for Ireland to kick off the Six Nations with two wins on the bounce, but with gales and rain expected as Storm Ciara rolls across Dublin on Sunday afternoon this will likely be another close one.
|IRELAND WOMEN||WALES WOMEN|
|Eimear Considine||15||Kayleigh Powell|
|Lauren Delany||14||Jasmine Joyce|
|Sene Naoupu||13||Hannah Jones|
|Michelle Claffey||12||Kerin Iake|
|Beibhinn Parsons||11||Lisa Neumann|
|Claire Keohane||10||Robyn Williams|
|Kathryn Dane||9||Kiera Bevan|
|Lindsay Peat||1||Gwenllian Pyrs|
|Cliodhna Moloney||2||Kelsey Jones|
|Linda Djougang||3||Cerys Hale|
|Aoife McDermott||4||Natalia John|
|Judy Bobbett||5||Gwen Crabb|
|Ciara Griffin ©||6||Alisha Butchers|
|Edel McMahon||7||Manon Jones|
|Anna Caplice||8||Siwan Lillicrap ©|
|Victoria O’Mahony||16||Molly Kelly|
|Laura Feely||17||Cara Hope|
|Anne-Marie O’Hora||18||Ruth Lewis|
|Ciara Cooney||19||Georgia Evans|
|Dorothy Wall||20||Bethan Lewis|
|Nicole Cronin||21||Alex Callender|
|Larissa Muldoon||22||Ffion Lewis|
|Aoife Doyle||23||Paige Randall|