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Scrum-half Cronin handed debut as Ireland make 7 changes for Japan

Tom Tierney has rested some of his big names.

Cronin: wins her first 15s cap against Japan.
Cronin: wins her first 15s cap against Japan.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

NICOLE CRONIN WILL make her 15s international debut against Japan as Ireland look to make it two wins from two at the Women’s Rugby World Cup (Belfield Bowl, Sunday, 5.15pm).

With just three days’ rest after Wednesday’s hard-fought win over Australia, Tom Tierney has rotated his side, with Cronin coming in as one of seven changes.

Mairead Coyne starts at full-back and Katie Fitzhenry is at outside centre while there are four more changes up front.

Ciara O’Connor comes in at tighthead in front of a new-look second row of Ciara Cooney and Sophie Spence, with Ciara Griffin – who impressed from the bench against Australia – starting at blindside flanker.

“We know that the Japanese are going to throw everything at us tomorrow evening,” Tierney said.

“They’re very fit, they like to move the ball wide and they are very quick to the break down.

“We’ve made a number of changes to the side from the Australia game with a view to giving some players a rest from what was a very physical game, but we also want to give the other members of the squad the opportunity to show what they can do against a fast and agile Japanese team.”

Ireland (v Japan)

15. Mairead Coyne
14. Hannah Tyrrell
13. Katie Fitzhenry
12. Sene Naoupu
11. Alison Miller
10. Nora Stapleton
9. Nicole Cronin

1. Lindsay Peat
2. Cliodhna Moloney
3. Ciara O’Connor
4. Ciara Cooney
5. Sophie Spence
6. Ciara Griffin
7. Ashleigh Baxter
8. Claire Molloy (capt)

Replacements:

16. Leah Lyons
17. Ruth O’Reilly
18. Ailis Egan
19. Paula Fitzpatrick
20. Anna Caplice
21. Larissa Muldoon
22. Jeamie Deacon
23. Louise Galvin

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