Tyrrell lone Irish change as Mclean back to lead England

The last time England’s women paid a visit to Ashbourne they did it without a host of players diverted for duties with the national Sevens side.

Tyrrell lone Irish change as Mclean back to lead England

There are shades of that again this week on their return to the Meath venue.

The visitors will again be lighter than they would like on front-line faces because of demands elsewhere, but the reinstatement of their superb out-half Katy Mclean as captain yesterday, despite the looming third round of Sevens action, is noteworthy.

McLean was not used for the opening defeat to Wales, but returned in round two when Italy were beaten 39-7 and the decision to return the armband is confirmation she will play an integral role for the rest of the Six Nations, starting with Ireland tomorrow. “She demonstrated over the years, especially the World Cup, her qualities as a leader and I think that will be vital against Ireland,” said England interim head coach Nicola Ponsford.

England make three changes to the side that made up for an opening loss in Wales with that trouncing of Italy, while Ireland have opted for just one alteration to the team that lost to France two weekends ago. Leinster’s Hannah Tyrrell missed out on the French game after suffering a concussion against Italy, but she comes back in for Munster’s Aoife Doyle.

Ireland beat England 25-0 on their way to a first Grand Slam in 2013, but the last meeting took place last August, England winning their World Cup semi-final comprehensively 40-7.

IRELAND Women (v England): N Briggs; H Tyrrell, J Murphy, K Fitzhenry, A Miller: N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O’Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan; S Spence. ML Reilly; P Fitzpatrick, C Molloy, H O’Brien.

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