There is a sense of pity the start of the Women’s Interprovincial Championship could not have been shelved for a week or even a month in order that the four provinces could have their Ireland internationals released for action.

Then again, Connacht might not have been in a position to take Leinster’s scalp for the first time and, in doing so, give the Women’s game out West a real boost.

Leinster are a long way from done.

Should they take down Ulster and Munster, and end equal on points, the points-difference will become paramount to the outcome in the preferred four points system.

At the moment, Munster (4) and Connacht (4) are three points clear of Leinster (1) and Ulster (1), who both managed a losing bonus-point in defeat.

The Blues have had to stomach their gains and losses this week with Ireland out-half Nora Stapleton giving way to a back injury.

This means Hannah Tyrrell moves into the number 10 shirt and Kim Flood comes off the bench to full-back, Meaghan Kenny taking a slot on the bench.

The gains come from most of the rest of the eight changes with a spine of international experience from second row Marie-Louise O’Reilly and number eight Paula Fitzpatrick in the forwards to the return of the Ireland Sevens quality of Tyrrell and Flood, also boasting Irish experience in the 15-a-side game.

Ulster co-coaches Jarrett Truscott and Philip Doyle have made three changes from the side which lost out 16-3 to Munster last week.

They were better than the scoreboard would suggest, applying plenty of pressure through a pro-active, attractive style before falling to late final quarter points.

Ireland’s Ashleigh Baxter will be on the openside, triggering a back row reshuffle with captain Gemma McCutcheon on the blindside and Storm Cobain moving forward into the second row.

Nikki Caughey will put her international credentials to use from full-back, while Emma Jordan steps onto the wing from the bench on the back of a solid cameo against Munster.

The quick turnaround and introduction of more than half a new team could carry unwanted complications for Leinster coach Adam Griggs.

“I wouldn’t say it is a short lead-in time because we’ve had the squad there for the last three months,” he disagreed.

“The internationals have laid the foundations for what we’re doing. It is difficult with the Irish girls coming back in because they don’t know our system that well.

“But, these girls are quality players and they know the game and they have the skills. They have picked it up fairly easily.

“I am expecting to see good things from them and to see them lead against am improving Ulster.”

Leinster Women face Ulster Women in Donnybrook on Saturday (KO 6.30pm). Come down, pay at the gate and support the Leinster Women!

Leinster Women

15. Kim Flood
14. Eimear Corri
13. Jenny Murphy
12. Michelle Claffey
11. Katie Fitzhenry
10. Hannah Tyrrell
9. Alisa Hughes
1. Lindsay Peat
2. Jennie Finlay
3. Joanna McMahon
4. Marie-Louise O’Reilly
5. Susan Fogarty
6. Ciara Cooney
7. Carmela Morey CAPTAIN
8. Paula Fitzpatrick.


16. Caoimhe Molloy
17. Cliodhna Maloney
18. Fiona O’Brien
19. Kate Norris
20. Juliet Short
21. Niamh Griffin
22. Niamh Byrne
23. Meaghan Kenny

Ulster Women

15. Nikki Caughey
14. Emma Jordan
13. Peita McAlister
12. Claire McLaughlin
11. Amy Davis
10. Jemma Jackson
9. Kathryn Dane
1. Ilse Van Staden
2. Lesley Megarity
3. Sorcha Mac Laimhin
4. Naomi McCullagh
5. Storm Cobain
6. Gemma McCutcheon CAPTAIN
7. Ashleigh Baxter
8. Lauren Maginnes


16. Brigid Collins
17. Shauna Martin
18. Beth Cregan
19. Aishling O’Connell
20. Hannah Beattie
21. Brittany Hogan
22. Leah McGoldrick
23. Maeve Liston