Ulster Women’s coach Benjy Van Der Byl has announced the team for this season’s final Inter Provincial match, against Connacht at Ballymoney RFC, on Saturday 17th September 2011.
As expected, after last weeks storming encounter against Munster in Limerick, there are few changes to the squad with only two positional switches and two new faces join the bench.
The positional switches sees Poppy Cleall start in the back row with Caroline Kelly dropping to the bench and Eliza Downey has reverted to her favoured left wing position with Ashleigh Baxter moving to full back after finishing the game there last week against Munster.
Interestingly coach Van Der Byl has decided to replace unavailable scrum half Larissa Muldoon with wing forward Claire Knipe. Muldoon’s slick passing game will be missed by Ulster this week, particularly as the switching in styles between Imogen Porter and Muldoon at scrum half had worked particularly well.
However her absence will be somewhat tempered by the return of, explosive wing forward, Claire Knipe who will be keen to make an impact having been forced to sit out the last two games due to injury.
Sorcha Chipperfield comes in for Laura Feeley as front row replacement with Chipperfield another keen to make an impact in this highly competitive squad.
Speaking to the Front Row Union coach Van Der Byl commented on the progress this season.
We pushed Munster very, very, close and the girls played so well. We went to sleep early on in the first half but fought well and finished the stronger of the two sides. If the game was a few minutes longer we would have won, no doubt!
There were strong games from Stacey lea Kennedy, Glenda Mellon, Imogen Porter, Grace Davitt, and Nikki Caughey to name a few.
We had to go uncontested scrum in the second half due to injuries, so we have changed some personell to help the team.
With a home game this week we are very confident and with the performance we put in again Munster we are going from strength to strength.
I am in a very good mood about this game and ulster women’s rugby is on the up, we are improving week on week and the girls are starting to enjoy playing with each other.
Ulster Women (1-15) Lizzie Ballentine (c) (Cooke), Stacey-lea Kennedy (City of Derry), Lauren Day (Cooke), Glenda Mellon (City of Derry), Brigid Reynolds (Cavan), Poppy Cleall (Exile), Gemma McCutcheon (Enniskillen), Nikita Armstrong (Cooke), Imogen Porter (Cooke), Grace Davitt (Cooke), Eliza Downey (Cooke), Laura Nicholl (Cooke), Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins), Zoe Templeton (Belfast Harlequins), Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins). (16-22) Sorcha Chipperfield (Belfast Harlequins), Emma Lowe (Cooke), Claire Knipe (Belfast Harlequins), Hilary Quinn (Cavan), Caroline Kelly (Cooke), Rachael Fleming (City of Derry), Teah Maguire (Cooke).