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2020-21 International Rugby Women Ireland Women Italy Women Six Nations

Ireland Women: Teams up for Ireland v Italy

The teams have been announced for the refixed Six Nations fourth round match between Ireland and Italy. The match will take place at Donnybrook on Saturday evening. Kick off 18:30. It will be broadcast on RTE 2 but no coverage in the north as yet.

Context

The game is a bit of a dead rubber, as far as the Six Nations goes, but it’s an important step in the return to normality and its a chance to get some game time under their belts ahead of the 2021 World Cup qualifiers in December.

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 England4400145262319
 France320179154311
 Ireland3201-48919
 Italy2101-314804
 Scotland2002-5721111
 Wales4004-13252611
Current standings in the 2020 Women’s Six Nations

Changes

I count seven changes to the 23 players used during the first half of this competition way back in February.

Neve Jones and Brittany Hogan follow Claire Boles to the senior side from the invincible 2016 Ulster U18’s though both will be looking to get their first start from the bench. They are joined by fellow Team FRU 2017 player Enya Breen who makes a welcome return to the centre after spending most of last season injured.

The legend that is Claire Molloy comes straight back into the squad after her year off and AIL stalwarts Katie O’Dwyer, Hannah O’Connor and Ailsa Hughes all start on the bench, O’Dwyer looking for her first start.

The team has an experimental feel to it, the most spectialative change being ex Ireland 7’s winger Hannah Tyrrell starting at out half! To a lesser extent, Hogan, an out and out centre in my book, comes into the the squad as second row cover. The game is a dead rubber and changes, properly communicated with other players and club coaches, are no bad thing when there is little at stake. The more important selections will be those made in December and, hopefully, in next years World Cup, should they get there.

I am particularly looking forward to seeing Jones’ involvement if she gets on the pitch. Her debut has probably been delayed by 2 years but I think that it will be an epic battle between Jones and the wonderful Cliodhna Moloney for the hooker starting spot for years to come. They really are two peas out of the same pod.

Kathryn Dane considers her options for Ireland against Scotland.

Jones and Hogan are joined by, fellow Ulster player, Kathryn Dane who continues at scrum half. The responsibility for protecting the inexperienced Tyrrell will fall on Dane’s shoulders who should relish the chance to control the tempo of the game.

Outcome

With the changes, it looks like the management are gong for a, comparatively risky, fast paced game, all over the park, in this first outing since February.

It may well be the correct game plan against a match starved Italian side but it does point their opponents towards a simple option of slow down, spoil and keep it in the forwards if they want to cause an upset.

Italy’s impressive 2019 form looks to have gone off the boil slightly in the two games they managed to play in the 2020 tournament so far. However, they can slug it out with the best of them when they choose to. They are boosted by the return of Manuela Furlan with the 73 times capped fullback returning as captain after 18 months of injury.

It’s a hard one to predict given the circumstances. If Italy had to win it I suspect they would but this one will probably go with the home side and it could be a convincing win at that.

Teams

Ireland WomenItaly Women
Lauren Delany15Manuela FURLAN (C)
Laura Sheehan14Vittoria OSTUNI MINUZZI
Enya Breen13Michela SILLARI
Sene Naoupu12Beatrice RIGONI
Béibhinn Parsons11Aura MUZZO
Hannah Tyrrell10Veronica MADIA
Kathryn Dane9Sofia STEFAN
Lindsay Peat1Silvia TURANI
Cliodhna Moloney2Melissa BETTONI
Linda Djougang3Lucia GAI
Nichola Fryday4Sara TOUNESI
Ciara Cooney5Giordana DUCA
Dorothy Wall6Francesca SGORBINI
Claire Molloy7Giada FRANCO
Ciara Griffin (C)8Elisa GIORDANO
Neve Jones16Giulia CERATO
Katie O’Dwyer17Erika SKOFCA
Leah Lyons18Michela MERLO
Brittany Hogan19Valeria FEDRIGHI
Hannah O’Connor20Francesca SBERNA
Ailsa Hughes21Sara BARATTIN
Larissa Muldoon22Beatrice CAPOMAGGI
Katie Fitzhenry23Benedetta MANCINI

NOTE: Friday 23rd October 2020 10:45 The IRFU advise that Laura Sheehan and Leah Lyons will replace Eimear Considine and Laura Feely respectively. The above team list has been amended accordingly.

Remaining Fixtures.

Sat 24th OctRD4IrelandItaly18:30
Sun 25th OctRD4ScotlandFrance14:20
Sun 1st NovRD5FranceIreland13:30
Sun 1st NovRD5WalesScotland16:15
Sun 1st NovRD5ItalyEngland17:00
Sun 6th DecRD2*ItalyScotland17:20
* Also qualifies as a World Cup Qualifying match

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