The teams are up for the Irish Rugby Women’s Interprovincial match between Leinster and Ulster which takes palace at Donnybrook Stadium on Saturday evening. Kick off 6:30 pm.
Ulster welcome back Irish internationals, Nikki Caughey at full back, and Ashleigh Baxter at openside and, though I’m surprised that both have come straight into the starting line up, I am happy to see thier names on the team sheet.
Caughey replaces Maeve Liston, who drops to the bench, with Pieta McAllister moving to the centre for the injured Eliza Downey. Emma Jordan takes McAllister’s spot on the wing after an impressive showing as a replacement last week.
Kathryn Dane and Jemma Jackson remain as halfbacks with internationals Amy Davis and Claire McLaughlin turning out on the wing and the centre respectively for the second successive game.
Up front, the front row of Ilse Van Staden, Lesley Megarity and Sorcha Mac Laimhim remain in place after good work against their Munster counterparts. Naomi McCullagh also returns, after her best performance in an Ulster shirt, and she is joined in second row by youngster Storm Cobain who started last week in the back row, Hanna Beattie drops to the bench. Captain Gemma McCutcheon swaps to blindside to accommodate Baxter’s return and Lauren Maginnes remains at No. 8.
It’s the traditional 5-3 split on the bench this week with Brigid Collins, Shauna Martin, Beth Cregan and Asling O’Connell joining Beattie as forwards cover. Brittany Hogan will be looking for her first senior start after some impressive performances alongside fellow replacement Leah Mcgoldrick for the Ulster U18’s, Liston takes the final spot on the bench as back three cover.
Leinster will be smarting after their surprise defeat by Connacht and with nine (I think) internationals in their squad they will present a formidable challenge for the developing Ulster side. It’s certainly a match I’m looking forward to with some of my favourite players on both sides.
There are mouth watering clashes all over the park and I think it’s the back row that are going to decide this one. McCutcheon and Baxter could be a phenomenal pairing in the back row and, if they click, it should be enough to give Ulster the edge.
The FRU Predicts: I’m going for an energetic Ulster to nick this one on the fast pitch at Donnybrook.
|Leinster Women||Ulster Women|
|Hannah Tyrrell||15||Nikki Caughey|
|Eimear Corri||14||Emma Jordan|
|Jenny Murphy||13||Peita McAlister|
|Michelle Claffey||12||Claire McLaughlin|
|Katie Fitzhenry||11||Amy Davis|
|Nora Stapleton||10||Jemma Jackson|
|Ailsa Hughes||9||Kathryn Dane|
|Lindsay Peat||1||Ilse Van Staden|
|Jennie Finlay||2||Lesley Megarity|
|Joanna McMahon||3||Sorcha Mac Laimhim|
|Marie Louise O’Reilly||4||Naomi McCullagh|
|Susan Fogarty||5||Storm Cobain|
|Ciara Cooney||6||Gemma McCutcheon|
|Carmela Morey||7||Ashleigh Baxter|
|Paula Fitzpatrick||8||Lauren Maginnes|
|Caoimhe Molloy||16||Brigid Collins|
|Cliodhna Maloney||17||Shauna Martin|
|Fiona O’Brien||18||Beth Cregan|
|Katie Norris||19||Aisling O’Connell|
|Juliet Short||20||Hannah Beattie|
|Niamh Griffin||21||Brittany Hogan|
|Niamh Byrne||22||Leah McGoldrick|
|Kim Flood||23||Maeve Liston|