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Ireland Women make four changes ahead of Aviva showdown with Italy

Grace Davitt, Stacey-Lea Kennedy and Amy Davis all come in for the historic Dublin clash.

Image: ©INPHO/James Crombie

IRELAND WOMEN HEAD coach Phillip Doyle has made four changes to his starting XV as his side prepares to make history against Italy in the Six Nations on Saturday [KO 5.00pm].

For what will be the women’s team’s first game at the Aviva Stadium, 49-times capped Grace Davitt comes into the midfield in place of Jenny Murphy, while Amy Davis is in for Larissa Muldoon at scrum-half.

The third alteration sees tighthead prop Ailish Egan dropping to the bench, with Stacey-Lea Kennedy starting. The latter will line out at hooker, with Gillian Bourke making a positional switch from number two to number three.

Murphy and Muldoon have both been included amongst the replacements for the clash with Italy.

Commenting on his selection, Doyle underlined that his side still has everything to play for in this year’s Six Nations.

“The team put in a strong performance against England at Twickenham and we are very much still in the hunt for the Championship.

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“Italy pushed us all the way last year in the final game of the tournament so we will not be taking them lightly and will need to put in a clinical performance to ensure that we secure victory in our first outing at the Aviva Stadium.”

Ireland Women (v Italy): Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Munster), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise RFC/UCC/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Amy Davis (Blackrock/Ulster); Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians/Leinster, capt.), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (Cooke/Ulster), Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster); Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie-Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Siobhan Fleming (Tralee/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Heather O’ Brien (Highfield/Munster).

Replacements: Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster),  Kerrie-Ann Craddock (Saracens), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Bristol), Hannah Casey (Saracens), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond).

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Murray Kinsella

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