Friday 26 December 2014

Philip Doyle aims to keep his focus in the present

Kazakhstan will not be taken for granted, insists Ireland's manager

Cian Tracey

Published 09/08/2014 | 02:30

5Ireland’s Paula Fitzpatrick takes the fight to New Zealand. Fitzpatrick switches to No 8 for today’s clash against Kazakhstan. SPORTSFILE
Ireland’s Paula Fitzpatrick takes the fight to New Zealand. Fitzpatrick switches to No 8 for today’s clash against Kazakhstan. SPORTSFILE

Philip Doyle has rung the changes ahead of Ireland's final pool game against Kazakhstan today (12.0 Irish time).

There are 10 personnel switches in total, with one eye clearly on the semi-finals in just five days' time.

If Ireland beat the bottom side this afternoon, they would qualify for the last four of the World Cup for the first time in their history and after Tuesday's victory over the Black Ferns, their sights are firmly set on the biggest prize of all.

Lynne Cantwell captains the side in the absence of Fiona Coghlan, who will be on the bench.

Cantwell resumes her centre partnership with Grace Davitt in what is otherwise a new-look back-line.


Tania Rosser switches to fly-half with Larissa Muldoon starting at scrum-half.

Outside of them, Jackie Shiels, Vikki McGinn and Hannah Casey all make their first starts of the tournament.

Up front, Gillian Bourke and Paula Fitzpatrick are the only players to retain their places in the starting XV.

Bourke again starts at hooker and will form a front-row partnership with Fiona Hayes and Kerrie Ann Craddock.

Fitzpatrick switches from blindside flanker to No 8, while in the second- row, Orla Fitzsimons makes her first appearance in France.

Kazakhstan have conceded two try-scoring bonus points in their opening two games and currently have the worst defence in the competition.

They have already shipped a total 126 points (21 tries) in their two games, but Doyle is adamant that his side will not take them for granted.

"Tuesday's win against New Zealand was fantastic and really showed what this team can do. However, it was one game and we still have a lot of rugby to play," he said.

"This World Cup is, and always has been about our 26-player squad, and we are in a great position that we can use fresh players to maintain our standards and performances to date.

"Kazakhstan are a hugely physical side and we are not underestimating them, they will not be overcome easily," Doyle added.

Ireland – J Shiels; V McGinn, L Cantwell (c), G Davitt, H Casey; T Rosser, L Muldoon; F Hayes, G Bourke, K A Craddock; L Guest, O Fitzsimons; S Lynch, S Fleming, P Fitzpatrick. Replacements: F Coghlan, A Egan, S Spence, C Molloy, N Stapleton, A Miller, A Baxter.


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