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Naoupu on the bench as Ireland aim for seventh on final day of World Cup action

Head coach Tom Tierney has made four changes, two enforced by concussion injuries.

HEAD COACH TOM Tierney has made four changes to Ireland’s starting line-up as they take on Wales (14.00) in tomorrow’s 7th place play-off at the Women’s Rugby World Cup in Belfast.

Ailis Egan celebrates scoring their first try with Nora Stapleton and Sene Naoupu Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

With Jenny Murphy and captain Claire Molloy ruled out with concussion after the 24 – 36 loss to Australia last time out, there is one change to the pack and a fresh centre pairing as the squad play their fifth Test in 17 days.

Heather O’Brien returns to the starting back row at number eight, replacing Molloy and reshuffling captain Paula Fitzpatrick to the blindside with relentless carrier Ciara Griffin at openside.

Eimear Considine is back on the right wing, replacing Louise Galvin, while Blackrock duo Katie Fitzhenry and Jeamie Deacon form a centre partnership with Sene Naoupu among the replacements.

Paula Fitzpatrick scores their fourth try and celebrates with Anna Caplice Fitzpatrick scores a try for Ireland against Australia. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Harlequins star is joined on the bench by Sophie Spence, Ash Baxter, Larissa Muldoon and Mairead Coyne, who has been out of the matchday 23 since the win over Japan.

Ireland are in this fixture after following up their pool wins over Australia and Japan with defeats to France and Australia. And there is more than just the marginal satisfaction of finishing seventh at stake as that placing will be enough to ensure Ireland do not have to go through the qualification process for the 2021 WRWC.

Ireland (v Wales, WRWC 7th place play-off)

15. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
13. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
12. Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere RFC/Connacht)
10. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
9. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
4. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
5. Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
6. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster) Capt
7. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
8. Heather O’Brien (Highfield RFC/Munster)

Replacements

16. Leah Lyons (Highfield RFC/Munster)
17. Ilse Van Staden (Cooke RFC/Ulster)
18. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
19. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
20. Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke RFC/Ulster)
21. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)
22. Sene Naoupu (Harlequins RFC)
23. Mairead Coyne (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)

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Sean Farrell

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