The teams have been announced for the Ulster v Leinster Women’s Interprovincial match which takes place tomorrow night at City of Armagh RFC.

For some unfathomable reason, the game kicks off two and a half hours after the U18 match at the same venue and with a ridiculously late kick off time of 7pm, it’s unlikely many will hang around for this one.

Ulster lost thier opening match 38 – 12 to Munster in Cork last weekend and Leinster romped home 34 – 6 against Connacht in Dublin, leaving the current standings as follows.

TEAM PL W D L PF PA DIFF TF TA TB LB PTS
Leinster Women 1 1 0 0 34 6 28 6 0 1 0 5
Munster Women 1 1 0 0 38 12 26 6 0 1 0 5
Ulster Women 1 0 0 1 12 38 -26 0 6 0 0 0
Connacht Women 1 0 0 1 6 34 -28 0 6 0 0 0

Both teams have made wholesale changes.

Ulster bring in Kelly McCormill, Diane Ramsey, Megan Brodie and Stacey-Lea Kennedy to the starting line up with Aishling O’Connell, Storm Cobain and Lucinda Kinghan looking to make their first appearance this season from the bench.

Leinster have swapped out their front five and are bringing in two uncapped players Anna Doyle (Tullow) and Judy Bobbett (Blackrock) though they have retained some of the big hitters on the bench.

Unfortunately the teams are coming at selection from two entirely different places. Leinster are having a look at their squad depth while Ulster are still rotating the squad until they find a selection that will bring them that all important competitive win, something that has eluded them for 19 games now.

A touch of extra spice in this match is supplied in the form of last season’s Ulster Women’s Captain Larissa Muldoon running out in the blue of Leinster against her former teammates.

Still a FRU Favourite, Muldoon’s presence will give us a good measure of the progress of the talented  Vicky Irwin as the pair go head to head at out half and it’s a personal battle I’m looking forward to. Circumstances have denied Irwin many chance’s to showcase her talents and I hope she takes this opportunity with both hands.

The teams for tomorrow are as follows.

ULSTER LEINSTER
Ella Durkan (Malone) 15 Grace Miller (Old Belvedere)
Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere) 14 Anna Doyle (Tullow) *
Kelly McCormill (Cooke) 13 Elise O’Byrne White (Old Belvedere)
Maeve Liston (Cooke) 12 Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere)
Diane Ramsey (Queens) 11 Meabh O’Brien (Suttonians)
Vicky Irwin (Cooke) 10 Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union)
Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere) 9 Molly Scuffil McCabe (Railway Union)
Megan Brodie (Harlequins) 1 Christy Haney (Blackrock College)
Stacey Lea Kennedy (CoD) 2 Lisa Callan (Railway Union)
Ilse Van Staden (Cooke) 3 Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union)
Hannah Beattie (Cooke) 4 Judy Bobbett (Blackrock College) *
Keelin Brady (Barnhall) 5 Daisy Earle (Railway Union)
Beth Cregan (Cooke) 6 Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock College)
Neve Jones (Malone) 7 Rachel Horan (CYM)
Lauren Maginnes (Malone) 8 Niamh Ní Dhroma (Old Belvedere)
Aishling O’Connell (Cooke) 16 Jennie Finlay (Old Belvedere)
Shannon Heapes (Cooke) 17 Lindsay Peat (Railway Union)
Chloe McIlwaine (Malone) 18 Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere)
Katie Hetherington (Cooke) 19 Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College)
Storm Cobain (Waterloo) 20 Alison Coleman (Blackrock College)
Peita McAlister (Malone) 21 Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union)
Jemma Jackson (Old Belvedere) 22 Megan Williams (Old Belvedere)
Lucinda Kinghan (Ireland 7s) 23 Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College)

As we said in our series preview we are not looking for Ulster to win all their games but we are expecting to see a gradual improvement across the series. Unfortunately the bar was set pretty low last week with something of a haphazard performance last week against Munster as a reasonable first half quickly deteriorated in the second period.

If you can bring yourself to read it our scorecard for last week’s match is below in the toggle box.

With the five matches this season we at The FRU have decided to try another new initiative for our coverage using a scorecard to determine how the team improves over the five games.

Based on our years of experience of covering the women’s game and the tens if not hundreds of thousands of images we’ve sifted through of players performing at the key areas of our focus we’ve put together a scorecard where we measure team performance over the following areas – passing, tackling, rucking, mauling, scrums, lineouts, restarts and general kicking as well as the overall energy of the team and it’s tactical awareness.

We’ve weighted the scoring for the age and experience of the players and the rating is 5 average, 6 good, 7 – 9 very good to excellent and 10 is outstanding.

Anything below 5 needs work. A good side should score an average of 6 or more and a very good side would be 6 or above in all categories.

The average score for the Ulster Women on Saturday past comes out a 5.1 which is a disappointing start – the individual category scores are shown below.

Passing, rucking and scrums were the key issues for Ulster Women last week all three of them giving Munster respite when Ulster had them on the back foot, not just on one or two occasions, but on several occasions in each category.

There was a good energy throughout the performance even if it was misdirected at times and the tackling was OK though needs to be less passive.


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