Friday 20 April 2018

Ireland women seek 'improved performance'

Ireland women’s coach Adam Griggs. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland women’s coach Adam Griggs. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has resisted the temptation to ring the changes for his side's Six Nations clash against Italy on Sunday (1.0).

Instead, the Kiwi has drafted in just three players, with Nichola Fryday and Paula Fitzpatrick promoted from the bench to both start in the second-row.

Like several other players in the squad, Fitzpatrick has made a positional switch, having played the majority of her rugby in recent years at No 8.

Katie Fitzhenry was involved with the Ireland sevens in Sydney last week and she comes into the midfield in place of Claire McLaughlin, who drops to the substitutes' bench.

Edel McMahon and Michelle Claffey are set to make their debuts from the bench, while there is also a welcome recall for scrum-half Nicole Cronin who impressed during the World Cup.

Ireland were thoroughly out-fought and out-thought by France last week and Griggs will be demanding a big response from his players as they look to get their campaign back on track against Italy.

"It was a very tough encounter in France," he admitted.

"It's always hard to go there and get a result and while we were disappointed in some aspects of our execution, there was plenty to learn from and build on for this week.

"There were a number of new combinations and while that will take time to bed in, we are focused on improving our performance for the first of three home games in Donnybrook."

Ireland Women (v Italy, Donnybrook, Sunday, 1.0) - K Flood; M Williams, F Kitzhenry, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C Moloney, F Reidy; P Fitzpatrick, N Fryday; A Caplice, C Molloy, C Griffin (capt). Reps: L Lyons, L Feely, C O'Connor, O Fitzsimons, E McMahon, N Cronin, M Claffey, C McLaughlin.

Irish Independent

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