Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney has made 10 changes from last week’s defeat to England, as Canada roll around to the UCD Bowl on Saturday.
Flanker Anna Caplice of UL Bohemian, who previously represented her country in the sevens circuit, will make her international debut when she joins captain Paula Fitzpatrick and Ciara Cooney in the back-row.
Also winning her first cap is 21-year-old lock Nichola Fryday, who will be partnered by Blackrock College’s Katie Norris, while the Munster trio of Fiona Hayes, Zoe Grattage, and Fiona Reidy form a new-look front row.
In the backline, Galwegians’ scrum-half Mary Healy and Belfast-born 10 Nikki Caughey replace Larissa Muldoon and Nora Stapleton, respectively.
Star centre Sene Naoupu will again link up with Nicole Fowley after the Sligo native won her first cap last week. Full-back Mairead Coyne is in the back-three with wingers Alison Miller and Niamh Kavanagh.
In the replacements, hooker Leah Lyons is joined on the bench by forwards Ailis Egan, Lindsay Peat, Elaine Anthony, and Chloe Pearse while Muldoon, Jackie Shiels, and Claire McLaughlin provide cover in the backs.
Tierney now looks ahead to a “less familiar” prospect in the Canadian team.
“This weekend, Canada will present us with a new and different challenge. We know England well from playing them in the Six Nations, but this week’s opposition are less familiar to us. They have a very strong rugby programme in Canada and were runners up at the last World Cup, so we will have to play smart rugby against them and stick to our game plan.”
Ireland team to play Canada:
M Coyne (Galwegians / Connacht); N Kavanagh (UL Bohemians / Munster), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians / Connacht), Sene Naoupu (Aylesford Bulls), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere / Connacht); Nikki Caughey (Railway Union / Ulster), M Healy (Galwegians / Connacht); F Hayes (UL Bohemians / Munster), Z Grattage (Highfield / Munster), F Reidy (UL Bohemians / Munster); K Norris (Blackrock College / Leinster), N Fryday (Tullamore RFC / Leinster); C Cooney (Railway Union / Leinster), A Caplice (UL Bohemians / Munster), P Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s / Leinster) (capt.)
L Lyons (Highfield / Munster), L Peat (Railway Union / Leinster), A Egan (Old Belvedere / Leinster), E Anthony (Highfield / Munster), C Pearse (UL Bohemians / Munster), L Muldoon (Railway Union), J Shiels (Old Belvedere / Leinster), C McLaughlin (Cooke / Ulster).
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