The Ireland Women’s team to play Wales in their opening game of the RBS 6 Nations, in Aberavon RFC on Sunday, February 3rd, 13:30, has been named.
Head coach Philip Doyle has selected Ireland’s most capped player, Lynne Cantwell, at out half for the game. She will be partnered in the half backs by Larissa Muldoon.
Niamh Briggs starts at fullback with Niamh Kavanagh and Alison Miller on the wings while Grace Davitt and Jenny Murphy make up a new centre partnership.
Up front, captain Fiona Coghlan packs down alongside Gillian Bourke and Ailis Egan. Sophie Spence and Marie Louise Reilly form a strong second row.
Joy Neville, Claire Molloy and Laura Guest make up an exciting back row.
Speaking about his team selection and the campaign ahead Doyle said: “It was an extremely difficult decision in selecting the 23 players for this weekend’s match and even more difficult in selecting the starting line up.
"The players have been working very hard over the last number of months and they made my job very difficult in team selection.
" Qualification for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup is dependent on the result from both this year’s and last year’s 6 Nations so we will be looking to raise the bar again this year in terms of our performances.
"We are under no illusions of the difficulty that this campaign will hold for us as all teams are looking to qualify for the WRWC which is the pinnacle of the XVs games."
Ireland Women (V Wales Women, RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aberavon RFC, Sunday February 3rd, 13:30):
15. Niamh Briggs (Munster)
14. Niamh Kavanagh (Munster)
13. Grace Davitt (Ulster)
12. Jenny Murphy (Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Connacht)
10. Lynne Cantwell (Exiles)
9. Lariss Muldoon (Exiles)
1. Fiona Coghlan (Leinster) Captain
2. Gillian Bourke (Munster)
3. Ailis Egan (Leinster)
4. Sophie Spence (Exiles)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Leinster)
6. Laura Guest (Munster)
7. Claire Molloy (Exiles)
8. Joy Neville (Munster)
16. Stacey-Lee Kennedy (Ulster)
17. Fiona Hayes (Munster)
18. Lauren Day (Exiles)
19. Heather O’Brien (Munster)
20. Siobhan Fleming (Munster)
21. Amy Davis (Ulster)
22. Nora Stapleton (Leinster)
23. Ashleigh Baxter (Ulster)