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Womens Rugby

Ireland Women vs Scotland Women Preview

Changes to both sides as they look for their first wins in the championship



Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland have made three changes to their side for their match against Scotland at Scotstoun Stadium on Friday night.

After falling to a 51-7 defeat to England last weekend, head coach Adam Grigg has replaced three players and made positional changes to try and kick start Ireland’s campaign.

Emma Hooban comes in at hooker for her first 6 Nations start, with Leah Lyons moving to tighthead and Laura Feely staying at loosehead.

Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday continue their partnership in the second-row. While in the back-row, Anna Caplice starts after an energetic display off the bench last weekend.

She is joined by Claire Molloy, winning her 66th cap, and captain Ciara Griffin.

There is one change in the back-line with Alison Miller starting on the wing for the first time since her horrific injury in last year’s tournament.

Her inclusion sees Megan Williams drop to the bench.

The rest of the backs are the same with Alisa Hughes at scrum-half, while Nicole Fowley starts at out-half even after a mixed performance last week.

Michelle Claffey and Sene Naoupu stay in the centre with Eimear Considine at 14 and Lauren Delany continuing at full-back.

There could be debuts off the bench for Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird and Claire Boles. The rest of the replacements stay the same.

Scotland have made two changes to their line-up from their 28-7 defeat to Italy last weekend.

Deborah McCormack comes back from injury straight into the starting XV in the second-row with Sarah Bonar moving to No 8 to replace the injured Siobhan Cattigan.

The rest of the 23 is unchanged with Scotland hoping to bounce back from that loss.

Ireland head coach Adam Grigg has drawn on positives form last week’s loss to the world’s No 2 team and has called on his players to build from them.

“The game against England last week was undeniably a tough start to the Women’s Six Nations and while the final scoreline was far from ideal, there are positives we will take from that game. Our set piece was solid throughout and we were able to challenge England at times during the game,” he said.

He has also warned that the Scots will be dangerous following their loss.

“We need to build on those positives now and make improvements in other areas of our game to become more consistent and force more pressure on our opponents. Scotland will bring new challenges and we know they’re also hurting from a loss last weekend,” he added.

With Miller back in the team there is a sense of optimism around the Irish camp and a win on Friday would see them kick start their championship.

The game will be shown on BBC Alba & RTE 2 – KO 7.30

Womens Rugby

Red Roses change 7 for Wales clash



Photo by Jan Kruger - RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

England Women head coach Simon Middleton has made seven changes to the starting XV for the Six Nations clash against Wales on Sunday 24 February, KO 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports Arena and Sky Sports Mix.

The Red Roses travel to Cardiff Arms Park after defeating Ireland 51-7 and France 41-26 in rounds one and two of the competition respectively.

Harlequins Ladies second row Abbie Scott will captain the side with Sarah Hunter named on the bench. This is the second time the 25-year-old leads the Red Roses, having captained England in their 57-5 victory over USA in November.

Harlequins centre and 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Rachael Burford and Wasps winger Abby Dow both start, making their first appearances this Six Nations.

After being rested against France, Marlie Packer returns to the starting line-up alongside Sarah Beckett. They will play at openside flanker and blindside flanker respectively.

Making their first starts in this year’s Six Nations campaign are Gloucester-Hartpury scrum half Natasha Hunt, Saracens fly half Zoe Harrison and Wasps hooker Amy Cokayne.

In two positional changes, Poppy Cleall will play at No 8 while Jess Breach moves to the left wing.

Loughborough Lightning duo Jo Brown and Carys Williams come in as replacements alongside Wasps scrum half Claudia Macdonald.

Middleton said: “While we were extremely pleased with our first half performance against France we were disappointed with our defensive efforts in the second half. Defensively, we were nowhere near the level that we want to be at or that we expect of ourselves.

“This disappointment has served as a great motivator for us going into this weekend’s fixture against Wales which we know will be a huge occasion.

“Wales will undoubtedly be buoyed by having gone from conceding over 50 points in their opening game against France to conceding only three against a strong Italian side. This, combined with our upcoming game being their first home fixture of this year’s Six Nations, will give Wales great confidence going into the weekend.”

On the changes Middleton commented: “Having played a lot of minutes recently we have made the decision to move Sarah Hunter to the bench for this fixture.

“This provides Poppy Cleall with the opportunity to demonstrate her ability at No 8 as we continue to strengthen our depth within this area and then naturally for Sarah Beckett to show us what she can do on the blindside.

“Emily Scarratt played excellently for us against France but we are managing an injury that flared up during that game to ensure she is in a good place for Italy.

“We’re excited to see Rachael Burford come into the side for her first 2019 Six Nations appearance where she will bring with her a huge amount of experience, alongside the players who will make their first starts from the bench having waited patiently for this opportunity.”

The two sides last met in the 2018 Six Nations where England defeated Wales 52-0.

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Womens Rugby

Ireland Women Make One Change for Italy

Ireland’s women’s team have made only one change to their starting XV for this weekend



Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland women’s head coach Adam Grigg has made only one change to his side to face Italy in Parma on Saturday at 18 45.

Kathryn Dane is the only new face to the team that beat Scotland 22-5 two weeks ago.

Dane will start at scrum-half and make her first international start after getting her debut off the bench against England in round one.

That means that it’s as you were with Laura Feeley, Emma Hooban, and Leah Lyons getting the nod in the front-row, with Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday continuing behind them.

Captain Ciara Griffin is at No 8 and joined by Anna Caplice and Claire Molloy on the flanks.

Then its Dane and Nicole Fowley in the half-back positions, Michelle Claffey and Sene Naoupu in the centre.

While the back-three remains as Alison Miller at 11, Eimear Considine at 14 and Lauren Delany at 15.

The bench sees Lindsay Peat and Laura Sheehan included for the first time this campaign, and they are joined by Alisa Hughes who makes way for Dane.

Speaking ahead of the match Griggs has warned his team of the unbeaten Italian side they face but is looking forward to the game.

“The Italian game should be a cracker, they have played well of late and are unbeaten so far in this Championship. We’ve been preparing diligently and know they have quality footballers that will put you under real pressure. We’ll need to be aware of these and look to close them down early if we are to get any success on Saturday,” he said.

Italy currently sit second in the table with seven points, but Ireland will look to leapfrog them with a win on Saturday and if they perform like they did in the last round we could be in for some game.

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Womens Rugby

Ireland Women See Off Scots

Ireland’s women’s team bounced back from last weekend’s defeat to England with victory over Scotland



Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ireland’s women’s team returned to winning ways on Friday night with a 22-5 win over their Scottish counterparts in Scotstoun.

With both teams losing in the opening round, a win for either was essential, with Ireland starting the better on a wet and windy night.

Some early pressure led to a brilliant move across the pitch from left to right, with some quick hands sending Aoife McDermott barrelling over for the games opening try.

The conversion was missed by Nicole Fowley leaving the score at 5-0 in the opening five minutes.

After 10 minutes Ireland had managed 70% of the possession, but it made little difference as Scotland drew level on 20 minutes.

They won a penalty under the posts but decided to go for a scrum rather than three points. The risk paid off as centre Hannah Smith showed some great pace to slip through the Irish defence and tie the score.

The conversion was missed but the score remained at 5-5 up until the 41st minute.

Following a dart forward from Anna Caplice, Ireland went through the phases before Leah Lyons touched down over the whitewash, with the conversion missed once more leaving the score at 10-5 at half-time.

Once more, Ireland came out of the blocks quickly in the second-half and five minutes in they were five points further ahead.

With pressure sustained from the kick-off, Ireland found themselves camped in the Scottish 22, until through some fortunate passing they found a fit again Alison Miller, who slide in for try number three.

The extra two points were missed again as it remained 15-5.

Ireland continued to show more than their hosts in attack and eventually they secured the bonus-point.

Scotland had a scrum near their 22 which Ireland won against the head and built up the phases there after. Some beautiful hands in the horrific conditions was rounded off with player of the match Anna Caplice getting over for the try.

This time Fowley put the ball between the sticks, and it was 22-5.

The remainder of the game was plagued by handling errors and confusion with neither team showing much urgency with the match already out of Scotland’s hands.

For Ireland the positives in the closing stages were that they brought on Claire Boles and Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird for their debuts and held on for their opening win in this year’s championship.

The win moves Ireland up to fourth in the standings and gives them plenty of encouragement heading into their game against Italy in two weeks’ time.

Scotland on the other hand are in fifth with two losses out of two and face a high-flying French side next.

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