The teams have been announced for Ireland’s all important clash against the Black Ferns which take place tomorrow in Marcoussis at 17:00 UK/Ire time.

There has been one change to the team that started against the USA with Siobhan Fleming benching and Paula Fitzpatrick taking her place in the starting line up. With Ireland outweighed by by nearly 5kg per player in the pack Fitzpatrick’s extra bulk will have come into reckoning with Head Coach Philip Doyle. On the bench Vikki McGinn comes in for Jackie Shiels as back three cover.


15. Niamh Briggs
14. Ashleigh Baxter
13. Lynne Cantwell
12. Grace Davitt
11. Alison Miller
10. Nora Stapleton
9. Tania Rosser
1. Fiona Coghlan
2. Gillian Bourke
3. Ailis Egan
4. Sophie Spence
5. Marie Louise Reilly
6. Paula Fitzpatrick
7. Claire Molloy
8. Heather O’Brien

16. Sharon Lynch
17. Fiona Hayes
18. Laura Guest
19. Siobhan Fleming
20. Larissa Muldoon
21. Jenny Murphy
22. Vikki McGinn

Height wise and age wise there is not a lot to choose between the two teams, Ireland are on average a year older and they average much the same in height, though Ireland have a significant advantage with Marie Louise Reilly standing a good three inches clear. However to me the most significant stat is that Ireland are outweighed by 38 kg in total in the pack.

However, the only real analysis that you need for this game is that, as with the men, Ireland need to play with absolute controlled ferocity from kick off to the final whistle, compete for every ball, hit harder than they’ve ever hit before and defend like demons for the entire 80 minutes.

New Zealand

15. Selica Winiata
14. Renee Wickliffe
13. Huriana Manuel
12. Amiria Rule
11. Honey Hireme
10. Kelly Brazier
9. Emma Jensen
1. Kathleen Wilton
2. Fiao’o Fa’amausili (C)
3. Aleisha Nelson
4. Eloise Blackwell
5. Jackie Patea
6. Rawinia Everitt
7. Linda Itunu
8. Casey Robertson

16. Stephanie Te Ohaere-Fox
17. Ruth McKay
18. Justine Lavea
19. Aroha Savage
20. Kendra Cocksedge
21. Claire Richardson
22. Shakira Baker

The team has the skill set, the technique and the ability to win this one but they will all count as nout if they don’t match the Black Ferns in the physical battle and what a battle it will be.

My reckoning is that this one will be won or lost in the first twenty minutes. If Ireland can contain the Black Ferns for the first quarter then I can see Ireland’s game management come out on top, However if New Zealand get a significant lead then it could become a bit of a rout.

Ireland are very much the underdogs in this one, any team would be playing the World Champions would be, but the team have been focusing on this one since the Pools were announced and I think they may just be ready to produce one of the biggest shocks in Women’s Rugby.

Can’t wait. #COYGIG




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