Sunday 18 March 2018

Ireland back to full strength

Ireland have reverted to the same team that dumped New Zealand out of the World Cup for Wednesday's semi-final against England in Paris.

Coach Philip Doyle has recalled the XV that produced the greatest upset in the women's game when the Black Ferns, reigning champions for the past four tournaments, were defeated 17-14.

Ten changes were subsequently made for the 40-5 thrashing of Kazakhstan on Saturday in preparation for the all-Six Nations showdown with England.

Number eight Heather O'Brien has recovered from a finger injury and resumes in the back row and full-back Niamh Briggs, Ireland's top scorer in France with 25 points, is back in the number 15 jersey.

"We have had a fantastic campaign so far and that has come from our hard work and dedication. We don't intend for it to end here," Doyle said.

* Ireland team to face England in World Cup semi-final at Stade Jean Bouin, Paris, on Wednesday August 13, 1700 KO BST:

N Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); A Baxter (BelfastHarlequins/Ulster),

L Cantwell (Richmond/Exile), G Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), A Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); N Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), T Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster); F Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster, capt), G Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), A Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), S Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), M Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), P Fitzpatrick (St. Mary's College/Leinster), C Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), H O'Brien (Highfield/Munster).

Replacements: S Lynch (Old Belvedere/Leinster), F Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), S Fleming (Tralee/Munster), L Guest (Highfield/Munster), L Muldoon (Bristol/Exile), J Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), H Casey (Saracens/Exile).

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