The Ireland Women’s team has been named to play England this Saturday at The Stoop. Kick off 3:00pm.

There are six uncapped players in the squad as new coach Tom Tierney starts to dismantle the highly successful side put together by the previous incumbent Philip Doyle and the match itself is a small step in the right direction for Women’s rugby in Ireland as previously the national side has been practically ignored outside of the Six Nations and World Cup.

There is only one current Ulster player in the squad and I’m pleased to see that the hard working and talented Claire McLaughlin has finally got the call up as she has been a key player for Ulster over the last few seasons and has been somewhat unfortunate not to have received international recognition earlier.

Her inclusion is partially due to the new coaching ticket at Ulster Women, the afore mentioned Philip “Goose” Doyle and Jarrett Truscott, as McLaughlin points out.:

“The coaching at Ulster this season was second to none. It was really good having ‘Goose’ and Jarrett there and they really helped us to hone our skills, bringing our basics up to scratch. It probably didn’t show in the results we got (in the Interprovincial Championship), but we improved throughout the series. There’s potential for the future there.”

Hopefully McLaughlin will be the first of many players to come through the Ulster system.

IRELAND WOMEN

15. Niamh Briggs (Munster) (capt)
14. Jeamie Deacon (Leinster) *
13. Aine Donnelly (Leinster) *
12. Jackie Shiels (Exile)
11. Mairead Coyne (Connacht) *
10. Sene Naoupu (Connacht)
9. Larissa Muldoon (Skewen)
1. Ruth O’Reilly (Connacht)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Leinster) *
3. Ailis Egan (Leinster)
4. Elaine Anthony (Munster) *
5. Ciara Cooney (Leinster) *
6. Sophie Spence (Leinster)
7. Paula Fitzpatrick (Toulouse)
8. Heather O’Brien (Toulouse)

Replacements:

16. Zoe Grattage (Tralee) *
17. Fiona Reidy (Munster)
18. Fiona O’Brien (Leinster)
19. Katie Norris (Leinster)
20. Lindsay Peat (Leinster) *
21. Mary Healy (Connacht) *
22. Nora Stapleton (Leinster)
23. Claire McLaughlin (Ulster) *

* Denotes new cap.

#SUFTUM