The teams have been announced for Friday evening’s RBS Women’s Six Nations match between Scotland and Ireland at Broadwood Stadium, Glasgow. Kick off 18:35. The match will be shown live on Scottish Rugby TV.
Ireland have included five uncapped players in their squad as coach Tom Tierney continues to evaluate his options ahead of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The new introductions include Cooke and Ulster’s Ilse Van Staden who should make her debut off the bench. Railway Union’s Ailsa Hughes wins her first cap as starting scrum half and Jennie Finlay, Ciara O’Connor and Eimear Considine join Van Staden on the bench with all of them hoping to get substantial game time.
Ulster and Cooke’s Claire McLaughlin also starts from the bench with Leinster’s Jenny Murphy, returning after a couple of seasons away, chosen to partner Sene Naoupu in the centre. I’d like to see McLaughlin and Murphy get a run out together but I suspect Tierney has Naoupu nailed on at inside centre!
Despite the absence of Niamh Briggs, due to recurring injury problems, this is, in my opinion, a substantially stronger Ireland side than the one that finished off the Six Nations last season with a 45 – 12 win against the same opponents. The inclusion of Orla Fitzsimmons and Marie Louise Reilly in the second row adds considerable grunt and nous and the back row of Paula Fitzpatrick (captain), Junior Griffin and the wonderful Claire Molloy should ensure Ireland plenty of ball at the breakdown. There is a bit of inexperience at hooker, and there might be a few ropey lineouts, but they should only be minor bumps in a powerful Ireland side’s progress.
It is all about experience for a gutsy Scottish side, who are improving and will feel they have something to prove after being pipped by Spain for the last European berth for the upcoming World Cup. Their back line only see’s one change from the last time these teams met, with Helen Nelson coming in at out half and bumping Sarah Law to scrum half and Jenny Maxwell to the bench. I’m glad to see the feisty Rhona Lloyd continuing on the wing, she impressed last time out, and I look forward to seeing how Kav handles her!
Up front, Scotland have made a couple of changes to the front row and Louise McMillan is a new face, to me at least, in the back row.
The FRU Predicts: It should be a comfortable win for Ireland, though maybe not as comfortable as the last time this pair met. Ireland are 3-4 players short of where they want to be I’d guess, but they should have too much power.
|SCOTLAND WOMEN||IRELAND WOMEN|
|Chloe Rollie||15||Mairead Coyne|
|Megan Gaffney||14||Niamh Kavanagh|
|Lisa Thomson||13||Jenny Murphy|
|Lisa Martin||12||Sene Naoupu|
|Rhona Lloyd||11||Alison Miller|
|Helen Nelson||10||Nora Stapleton|
|Sarah Law||9||Ailsa Hughes|
|Tracy Balmer||1||Lindsay Peat|
|Rachel Malcolm||2||Leah Lyons|
|Lindsey Smith||3||Ailis Egan|
|Emma Wassell||4||Orla Fitzsimons|
|Deborah McCormack||5||Marie Louise Reilly|
|Karen Dunbar||6||Ciara Griffin|
|Louise McMillan||7||Claire Molloy|
|Jade Konkel||8||Paula Fitzpatrick|
|Lucy Park||16||Jennie Finlay|
|Heather Lockhart||17||Ilse van Staden|
|Katie Dougan||18||Ciara O’Connor|
|Sarah Bonar||19||Elaine Anthony|
|Jemma Forsyth||20||Nichola Fryday|
|Jenny Maxwell||21||Mary Healy|
|Lauren Harris||22||Claire McLaughlin|
|Eilidh Sinclair||23||Eimear Considine|