Doyle goes with form for Scots clash

Irish coach Philip Doyle has gone with form ahead of tomorrow night’s Six Nations opener against Scotland in Ashbourne RFC (7.30pm).

Doyle goes with form for Scots clash

Last year’s top scorer Niamh Briggs will be on the bench, while Hannah Casey of Saracens will make her international debut.

“We’ve gone with a little bit of youth and experience, and form too has played its part in selection,” said Doyle yesterday.

“Niamh starts on the bench this time out but Jackie Shiels has been playing brilliantly with Richmond in the English Premiership, and I’m sure she’ll want to take her chance.

“On the right wing we have another Exile in Hannah Casey making her debut and she had an absolute stormer against Italy in a friendly two weeks ago.

“With the World Cup in August we also have to keep a close eye on that and the Six Nations will be key in getting a full squad of 26 players with international experience ready for that,” he added.

Ireland open the defence of their Six Nations title on Friday night when they face a new-look Scottish side, and Doyle is wary.

“We notoriously don’t play well against them, we’re like the men’s side in that regard.

“It’s hard to know what to expect from them really. They’ve a new female coach, which is great to see, but we don’t know much about her or the type of rugby they like to play.

“It could be a very tricky encounter, and if the weather we’re expecting — wind and rain — has a role to play, then it may very well suit them. We like to play an open, expansive game, so we’ll just have to see how it pans out.”

Doyle also welcomed news that the game will be the first of Ireland’s home fixtures that will be broadcast live on 2FM.

“The extra media attention this year having won the Grand Slam adds a little bit of pressure for sure, but that’s what you expect playing at international level.”

IRELAND WOMEN: J Shiels (Richmond), H Casey (Saracens), L Cantwell (Richmond), J Murphy (Leinster), A Miller (Connacht), N Stapleton (Leinster), A Davis (Ulster); F Coghlan (Leinster) (capt), SL Kennedy (Ulster), A Egan (Leinster), S Spence (Leinster), ML Reilly (Leinster), S Fleming (Munster), C Molloy (Connacht), H O’Brien (Munster).

Replacements: G Bourke (Munster), F Hayes (Munster), KA Craddock (Saracens), O Fitzsimmons (Leinster), P Fitzpatrick (Leinster), L Muldoon (Bristol), G Davitt (Ulster), N Briggs (Munster).

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