Sunday 25 February 2018

Tierney: Players know that they must improve against Italy

Ireland women's coach Tom Tierney. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland women's coach Tom Tierney. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It has been quite a week for Hannah Tyrrell who after playing for Ireland in the Sydney 7s last weekend, is parachuted straight into the starting XV for Sunday's Six Nations clash in Italy.

Tom Tierney has largely kept faith with the side who showed great character to leave Scotland with a bonus-point win last week.

Former Dublin footballer Tyrrell comes on to the right wing in place of Niamh Kavanagh, while the only other change to the XV sees Munster second-row Elaine Anthony promoted from the bench to partner Marie-Louise Reilly in the engine room.

Scrum-half Alisa Hughes, who won her first cap last week, will again partner Nora Stapleton.

Welcome

Paula Fitzpatrick continues to captain the side from No 8 in the absence of regular skipper Niamh Briggs, who again misses out through injury. However, there is a welcome return for former World Player of the Year nominee Sophie Spence, as she is named among the replacements.

Tierney was impressed with the way his side ground out a result last week but he expects improvements will be needed to keep their Grand Slam dream alive.

"It was a very tough encounter on Friday evening in Glasgow," Tierney said.

"The Scots really put it up to us, and for the players to get that final score when it really mattered, and to come away with the five points from such a tough encounter, is very pleasing.

"We've reviewed the performance against Scotland and the players are aware of the areas that they need to improve on against Italy.

"The nature of the Six Nations is that there are no easy games, so we'll have to be really focused going into the game this Sunday."

Ireland Women (to play Italy on Sunday) - M Coyne; H Tyrrell, J Murphy, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Stapleton, A Hughes; L Peat, L Lyons, A Egan; E Anthony, M-L Reilly; C Griffin, C Molloy, P Fitzpatrick (capt). Reps: J Finlay, I Van Staden, C O'Connor, C Cooney, S Spence, M Healy, C McLaughlin, E Considine.

Irish Independent

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