Ulster Women’s coach Benjy van der Byl is looking for an improved performance from his charges this week when they travel to Garryowen RFC in Limerick to play Munster Women. KO 1:00pm.
City of Derry and Ireland hooker Stacey Lea Kennedy returns to the squad to add an extra edge up front and Cooke’s Teah Maguire makes her return to Ulster colours coming in for Claire McLaughlin who got injured in last weeks fixture against Leinster.
Van der Byl is still playing his cards close to his chest with regards to the starting line up but it could be a first start for Nikki Caughey who, came off the bench last week for McLaughlin, celebrated her birthday and was awarded the Front Row Union Player of the Year all in the one day!
Speaking on last weekend’s game and looking forward to Munster, van der Byl told the Front Row Union:
The Leinster game was tough to take because we prepared so well and let ourselves down. We worked on scrums with Justin Fitzpatrick during the pre-season but unfortunately the girls froze on Saturday. Maybe it was the big occasion?
We have strong backline but we did not use them well enough, our set piece was ok but we will be looking to dominate this time round.
Overall we are ready and well prepared for this fixture, the blessing is we have such a strong squad, and with players like Claire Knipe, Teah Maguire having to sit out of the 22 when they started last year is hard to take, but that’s what we want, girls fighting for places and Teah is ready to step in this week with Claire’s (McLaughlin) injury.
We leave Friday and are looking forward to the bus trip, that always brings the girls closer!
Munster will be the same as last year, big, hard and they play ugly, they put you under pressure and wait for you to make a mistake. We have players in the squad who will help the other’s overcome the occasion and handle such pressure.
This is a very strong side we are developing and I fancy our changes. We are the underdogs but we under performed last week and the girls and management are up for a good old fashion derby fight!
Forwards: Laura Feeley (Sligo), Emma Lowe (Cooke), Poppy Cleall (Exile), Hilary Quinn (Cavan), Lizzie Ballentine (c) (Cooke), Stacey Lea Kennedy (City of Derry), Lauren Day (Cooke), Glenda Mellon (City of Derry) , Brigid Reynolds (Cavan), Gemma McCutcheon (Enniskillen), Caroline Kelly (Cooke), Nikita Armstrong (Cooke).
Backs: Larissa Muldoon (Exile), Rachael Reynolds (City of Derry), Teah Maguire (Cooke), Imogen Porter (Cooke), Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins), Laura Nichol (Cooke), Nikki Caughey (Belfast Harlequins), Zoe Templeton (Belfast Harlequins), Eliza Downey (Cooke), Grace Davitt (Cooke).