Ireland Women’s head coach Adam Griggs has kept changes at a minimum for their Six Nations Championship showdown with Italy at Viale Piacenza in Parma on Saturday (kick-off 6.45pm, Irish time).
Following a brace of appearances off the bench to date, Kathryn Dane replaces Ailsa Hughes at scrum-half. The Enniskillen native made her debut in the heavy opening round defeat to England at Donnybrook. She will link up alongside Nicole Fowley at half-back, is the only alteration from the 22-5 triumph over Scotland two weeks ago.
Sene Naoupu and Michelle Claffey are paired in midfield for the fifth game in succession, while Lauren Delany, Eimear Considine, and Alison Miller stay in the back three.
Claire Molloy has shaken off the quad issue that led to her withdrawal in the Scotland game and takes her place in an unchanged pack.
Lindsay Peat is joined amongst the replacements by UL Bohemian trio Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird, Fiona Reidy, and Laura Sheehan.
After getting their campaign up and running in Glasgow, Griggs is hopeful of a repeat against unbeaten Italy.
“It was great to come away with five points after the Scotland test. It was a physical game in tough conditions, but the players were focused on putting in a good team performance together and showing the quality rugby they can produce,” Griggs said.
“We were pleased with the opportunities that we created and while the challenge for this group is to become even more clinical under pressure, we definitely feel each week we are improving and taking the right steps to get there.
“The Italian game should be a cracker. They have played well of late and are unbeaten so far in this championship which isn’t easy to do. We have been preparing diligently and know they have quality footballers that will put you under real pressure. We will need to be aware of these and look to close them down early if we are to get any success.”
L Delany; E Considine, S Naoupu, M Claffey, A Miller; N Fowley, K Dane; L Feely, E Hooban, L Lyons; A McDermott, N Fryday; A Caplice, C Molloy, C Griffin.
D Nic a Bhaird, L Peat, F Ready, C Boles, C McLaughlin, A Hughes, E Murphy, L Sheehan.