Debutants included in Tom Tierney’s Ireland Women’s side to face Italy
Ireland head coach Tom Tierney has made a number of changes from the last outing against England and it will be a new look side that will run out in Donnybrook on Sunday.
There is a new back-three as Kim Flood and Liz Burke win their first Ireland caps. They are joined by experienced wing Alison Miller who is back into the 15-a-side game following the Ireland Women's Sevens trip to Sydney and Sao Paulo last month.
Flood, who is also part of the Women's Sevens Programme takes over the number 15 jersey from Captain Niamh Briggs who will partner Sene Naoupu at centre.
Nikki Caughey, another member of the Sevens Programme, comes back into the side at out-half and will be partnered by scrum-half Mary Healy, who will be making her first Six Nations start.
Up front, Lindsay Peat earns her first Ireland start at loose-head prop and Elaine Anthony will make her Six Nations debut when she partners Marie-Louise Reilly in the second row.
In the back row, Sophie Spence will move to Number 8, and will have Ciara Cooney and Ciara Griffin on each flank.
The is lots of experience on the replacements bench, with the likes of Ruth O'Reilly, Paula Fitzpatrick, Claire Molloy, Larissa Muldoon and Nora Stapleton all being available if required.
Claire McLaughlin, who was an un-used substitute against England back in November will be hoping to win her first Irish cap from the bench on Sunday.
Speaking ahead of the game, Tierney said;
"While results haven't gone our way since the opening game against Wales, we have been strong in passages of our play, but mistakes proved to be costly and because of that we just didn't manage to come out on the right side of the results against France and England.
We've made a number of changes this week and this is to allow players the opportunity to show us what they can do, and no better place to do it than at home in Donnybrook. There's a couple of new caps and girls making their first Six Nations starts so it should make for an exciting game on Sunday against Italy”
Ireland Women v Italy Women, Donnybrook Stadium, Sunday 13th March, 1pm
15. Kim Flood (Railway Union / Leinster)*
14. Liz Burke (UL Bohemians / Munster)*
13. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians / Munster) Captain
12. Sene Naoupu (Galwegians / Connacht)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise / Connacht)
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union / Ulster)
9. Mary Healy (Galwegians / Connacht)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union / Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union / Leinster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere / Leinster)
4. Elaine Anthony (Highfield / Munster)
5. Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere / Leinster)
6. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union / Leinster)
7. Ciara Griffin (Tralee / Munster)
8. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere / Leinster)