The Leinster Women’s team to face Connacht in Donnybrook on Saturday has been named.
The Leinster Women began the 2015 Women’s Interprovincial Series with a convincing 38-0 victory over Ulster in Portadown last weekend.
A win against Connacht on Saturday in Donnybrook (KO 5pm) could set up a potential title-decider with reigning champions Munster in Thomond Park on 5th September.
There is just one change to the Leinster XV that defeated Ulster, Janice Daly Morrissey coming in on the right wing to replace Martina McCarthy.
The front eight remains the same, with Ailis Egan leading the side from the front row, alongside Fiona O’Brien and Sharon Lynch.
Ciara Cooney and Orla Fitzsimons are retained in the second row, and in the back row Paula Fitzpatrick will be flanked by World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year nominee, Sophie Spence, and Jennie Finlay.
The half-back pairing of Ailsa Hughes and Nora Stapleton remains the same from the win over Ulster. Stapleton converted four of Leinster’s six tries in the game, including her own in the second half.
The back three consists of the aforementioned Daly Morrissey, Amy Cotter, who also crossed the whitewash for Leinster last week, and Jeamie Deacon.
The centre pairing of Aine Donnelly and Elise O’Byrne White completes the XV.
Speaking to Leinster TV ahead of the game, captain Ailis Egan spoke about the quality in the Connacht team: “For me, Connacht would be probably one of our toughest games of the tournament. They’ve got class across the pitch, in the forwards and the backs.
“Ruth O’Reilly, the Connacht captain, is a great mate of mine, so there’s bants already happening on Twitter and texts flying here and there, and the same with Briggsy (Munster captain Niamh Briggs). It’s an added element of fun, but there’s a bit of pride on the line as well.”
Head coach Robert Forbes called for supporters to come out and get behind the team in Donnybrook after the Ireland v Wales match in Aviva Stadium that day.
“There’s an Irish game on that day so we’d be hoping that a lot of the crowd would come down the road and cheer us on,” Forbes told Leinster TV.
“It’s a great opportunity for all the women’s rugby supporters around the province to get up to Donnybrook, get in to the stadium, make a huge amount of noise and really get behind the Leinster team.”
Pay at the gate and support the girls in blue for just €;5 in Donnybrook!
Leinster Women XV v Connacht Women, IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Series, Donnybrook Stadium, KO 5pm
1. Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere)
2. Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere) CAPTAIN
4. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union)
5. Orla Fitzsimons (St Mary’s)
6. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere)
7. Jennie Finlay (Railway Union)
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere)
11. Amy Cotter (Suttonians)
12. Aine Donnelly (Port Dara)
13. Elise O’Byrne White (Old Belvedere)
14. Janice Daly Morrissey (Old Belvedere)
15. Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock)
16. Ann-Marie Rooney (St Mary’s)
17. Karla Dunne (Blackrock)
18. Ruth McElroy (Old Belvedere)
19. Mairead Holohan (Blackrock)
20. Susan Fogarty (Railway Union)
21. Meg Parkinson (Carlow)
22. Vikki McGinn (Blackrock)
23. Sara Phelan (Clondalkin)