Munster banking on youth and experience

Munster women’s head coach Wayne Falvey looks forward to seeing what the next crop of young talent in the province can offer as they begin their interpro title defence against Ulster at Kingspan Stadium this afternoon (3pm).

Falvey has named four debutants — Nuala O’Connor, Sara Hartigan, Christine Arthurs and Laura Sheehan — on the bench alongside international front rowers Zoe Grattage and Fiona Hayes. Falvey believes this blend of youth and experience could be crucial in this campaign.

“Fiona and Zoe were capped over the international series and with the new girls coming in, they will really add value (to the team). When you come in for your first cap, you’re there for a reason. They’re in there because they are the best and it’s up to them to show that when they come on.”

Having the series played throughout December (instead of its usual August-September slot) has been an advantage as it allowed Falvey more time to survey the club scene for future stars. “It (the late schedule) has allowed us to have a look at new players coming through in club rugby. A few of them have taken their chance and have shown what they can bring to the table.”

He added: “There is a fantastic vibe around women’s rugby. With the World Cup here next August, the inter-provincials are only going to feed into the good vibe around it. When you go through our squad there are only 4 or 5 girls that have been involved in the November matches. Obviously, we’ve had a larger contingent that were involved in the international matches over the last couple of months but in terms of our own preparation, we’ve done all the work..”

Connacht host Leinster at Tuam RFC this afternoon (2pm) in the day’s other game.

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