The teams were announced yesterday for the Women’s Six Nations clash between Wales Women’s and Ireland Women that takes place on Saturday morning at Cardiff Arms Park. Kick off 11:30. Live on YouTube. 

Ireland Coach Tom Tierney has made three personnel changes and one positional change to the team that beat France. From a Ulster perspective Claire McLaughlin drops out with an ankle injury which means no Ulster representation in the starting line up. However, Ilse van Staden, Nikki Caughey and Larissa Muldoon all start on the bench. 

Returning Sevens players Alison Miller, Hannah Tyrrell and Sene Naoupu all go straight back into the starting line up. Naoupu taking McLaughlin’s place in the centre, Miller and Tyrrell going to the wings with Kim Flood moving to full back at the expense of Mairead Coyne who drops to the bench. The rest of the backs stay the same. 

There are no changes up front. 

Wales, after their shock defeat by Scotland, have made seven changes to their team though it appears to be largely the return of senior players who were unadvisedly “rested” for the Scotland game. Loose head Caryl Thomas, No.8 Shona Powell-Hughes, scrum half Keira Bevan, fly half Robyn Wilkins and wing Adi Taviner all come into the starting line-up. Two of the changes are positional, as Sioned Harries moves to the blindside, and Elen Evans goes from left wing to the right.

It will be an emotional game for the home team, following the tragic loss of Elli Norkett in a car accident, as Head coach Rowland Phillips states;

“We need to perform and keep our concentration, because we know what an emotional occasion it will be. Elli was important to so many people. It’s fitting and right that we’ll be able to pay our respects to her on Saturday, and we’ll all be carrying our memories of her this weekend.”

It’s another must win game for Ireland as they chase down that showdown against England on St Patricks day. The camp has a bit of an edge about it following the negative publicity surrounding the removal of players last time out. How these varying emotions will work themselves out is anyone’s guess. 

The FRU Predicts: As with the men’s game I can see this going either way. However I think Wales have just too much to prove to lose this one and I’m going for a home win. Don’t worry though, I predicted France to win last time out. So, yet again, hopefully the players will prove me wrong. #COYGIG

Dyddgu Hywel 15 Kim Flood
Elen Evans 14 Hannah Tyrrell
Kerin Lake 13 Jenny Murphy
Rebecca de Filippo 12 Sene Naoupu
Adi Taviner 11 Alison Miller
Robyn Wilkins 10 Nora Stapleton
Keira Bevan 9 Mary Healy
Caryl Thomas 1 Lindsay Peat
Carys Phillips 2 Leah Lyons
Amy Evans 3 Ailis Egan
Rebecca Rowe 4 Sophie Spence
Mel Clay 5 Marie Louise Reilly
Sioned Harries 6 Ciara Griffin
Rachel Taylor 7 Claire Molloy
Shona Powell-Hughes 8 Paula Fitzpatrick
Lowri Harries 16 Ciara O’Connor
Cerys Hale 17 Ilse van Staden
Gwenllian Pyrs 18 Ruth O’Reilly
Siwan Lillicrap 19 Ciara Cooney
Alisha Butchers 20 Nichola Fryday
Rhiannon Parker 21 Larissa Muldoon
Elinor Snowsill 22 Nikki Caughey
Gemma Rowland 23 Mairead Coyne