Caplice and Fryday set for debuts as Tierney seeks response against Canada
Published 17/11/2016 | 02:30
While the result against England last week didn't go Ireland's way, coach Tom Tierney is confident that his players learned plenty of lessons as preparations for next year's World Cup continue.
Canada are the visitors to UCD on Saturday and Ireland will be desperate to bounce back before they round off their autumn series against New Zealand next weekend.
Tierney has made 10 changes in total to the side that narrowly lost 12-10 to England with UL Bohs' openside Anna Caplice and Tullamore RFC second-row Nichola Fryday both handed their international debuts.
With the bigger focus very much on next August's World Cup which will be held on these shores, Tierney is rightly making the most of these games in that he is blooding fresh faces.
He has however kept some experienced campaigners in his starting XV. Paula Fitzpatrick again skippers the side from No 8, while try-scoring machine Alison Miller continues on the left wing.
The Munster trio of Fiona Hayes, Zoe Grattage and Fiona Reidy will form a new-look front-row and there is also a new half-back partnership with Galwegians' scrum-half Mary Healy and Belfast-born out-half Nikki Caughey linking up.
"There were lots of positives to take from last Sunday's game against England," Tierney insisted.
"While the result didn't go in our favour, the players will take a lot from the performance and we will be looking to build on this over the next two weeks against Canada and New Zealand.
"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.
"We've two more new caps this week as well, so we're looking forward to seeing how Anna and Nichola get on in UCD."
Ireland - M Coyne; N Kavanagh, N Fowley, S Naopu, A Miller; N Caughey, M Healy; F Hayes, Z Grattage, F Reidy; K Norris, N Fryday; C Cooney, A Caplice, P Fitzpatrick (capt). Reps: L Lyons, L Peat, A Egan, E Anthony, C Pearse, L Muldoon, J Shiels, C McLaughlin.