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Lyons and Cronin start as Ireland make six changes for pool decider with France

Claire Molloy captains the side but returns to openside flanker to make room for Paula Fitzpatrick.

Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

LEAH LYONS AND Nicole Cronin have retained their places in Tom Tierney’s Ireland team to play France in their Women’s Rugby World Cup pool decider on Thursday (UCD Bowl, 19:45).

Cronin made her 15s international debut as Ireland toughed it once more against Japan to make it two wins from two, and starts at scrum-half over Larissa Muldoon. Hooker Lyons, too, impressed in Ireland’s 24-14 victory on Sunday, and partners Lindsay Peat and the returning Ailis Egan in the front row.

Marie-Louise Reilly also returns and lines out alongside Sophie Spence at lock, while Ciara Griffin, Paula Fitzpatrick and captain Claire Molloy form the back row, with the latter moving from 8 to openside flanker.

Hannah Tyrrell moves back to 15 while Eimer Considine returns on the right wing. Sene Naopu and Jenny Murphy line out at inside and outside centre respectively.

“We’ve had lots of tough games against France over the years and we know tomorrow evening is going to be no different,” said Irish head coach Tom Tierney.

“They have looked really good in their opening two games of the tournament and they’ll be coming into this game full of confidence.

“It’s a cup final tomorrow night, with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs, so we want the players to go out there and give it everything.

“It won’t be easy, but with the crowd behind them, they have the ability to claim a place in the final four.”

Ireland (v France)

15. Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
13. Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Harlequins FC)
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. Leah Lyons (Highfield RFC/Munster)
3. Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
4. Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
5. Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol RFC/Connacht) Captain
8. Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s College RFC/Leinster)

Replacements

16. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
17. Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
18. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)
19. Ashleigh Baxter (Cooke RFC/Ulster)
20. Heather O’Brien (Highfield RFC/Munster)
21. Larissa Muldoon (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)
22. Katie Fitzhenry (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
23. Louise Galvin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)

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