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Dublin: 18 °C Tuesday 16 July, 2019
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Leinster and Munster name teams for opening weekend of inter-pro series

The eastern province begin their campaign against Ulster on Friday evening, while defending champions Munster host Connacht.

The captain's at this year's inter-pro launch.
The captain's at this year's inter-pro launch.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

NEW LEINSTER WOMEN’S head coach Ben Armstrong has named his first team of the 2018 inter-provincial campaign, with the eastern province including seven uncapped players for Friday’s clash with Ulster.

The loss of Ireland internationals Sophie Spence, Orla Fitzsimons and Paula Fitzpatrick is a blow to Leinster’s chances of retaining the title they surrendered last year, but there is an exciting blend of youth and experience in their squad.

Sene Naoupu captains the province for their opening assignment at Stradbrook on Friday evening [KO 7pm] while Armstrong has been able to bolster his resources by recruiting out-half Nikki Caughey from Ulster, scrum-half Ellen Murphy from Munster and Connacht’s Katie O’Dwyer. 

The addition of Kiwi Nicole Purdom, who has impressed in club rugby with Suttonians RFC, further strengthens Leinster’s back row options as they bid to win their fifth inter-pro crown. 

While there is an element of a changing of the guard after last season, Leinster are still stocked with international experience in the form of Ireland centre Naoupu, Lindsay Peat, Aoife McDermott, Ciara Cooney and Megan Williams. 

After their campaign opener against Ulster, Armstrong’s side then face Connacht in Galway on 9 September and Munster at Donnybrook on 15 September. 

Ulster’s 26-player squad contains three Ireland internationals in captain Larissa Muldoon, Claire McLaughin and Ilse van Staden and emerging talent, including Emma Jordan who is excelling in a leadership role and Neve Jones, who continues to develop following her role as captain of the U18s side who won the series in 2016.

Meanwhile, Munster’s title defence has been bolstered by the availability of Ireland captain Ciara Griffin and Niamh Briggs for their opening game with Connacht at Musgrave Park on Saturday [KO 2.30pm].

Head coach Laura Guest has named prop Fiona Hayes and Chloe Pearse as co-captains, with 12 of the starting XV coming from UL Bohemians. 

Leinster (v Ulster):

15. Lauren Farrell McCabe (Suttonians RFC)*
14. Gemma Matthews (Old Belvedere RFC)*
13. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College RFC)
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere RFC, captain)
11. Elise O’ Byrne White (Old Belvedere RFC)
10. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union RFC)*
9. Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere RFC)*

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union RFC)
2. Emma Hooban (St Mary’s College RFC)*
3. Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC)*
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union RFC)
5. Meg Kendall (Railway Union RFC)
6. Jeamie Deacon (Blackrock College RFC)
7. Juliet Short (Railway Union RFC)
8. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC)*

Replacements:

16. Ann Marie Rooney (Blackrock College RFC)
17. Christy Haney (St Mary’s College RFC)
18. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC)*
19. Mairead Holohan (Blackrock College RFC)
20. Nicole Purdom (Suttonians RFC)*
21. Niamh Griffin (Blackrock College RFC)
22. Nicole Carroll (Suttonians RFC)
23. Ray Lawless (Blackrock College RFC)*

*Denotes uncapped player 

Munster (v Connacht):

15. Enya Breen (Bantry Bay RFC)
14. Laura O’Mahony (UL Bohemian RFC)
13. Niamh Kavanagh (UL Bohemian RFC)
12. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemian RFC)
11. Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemian RFC)
10. Rachel Allen-Connolly (UL Bohemian RFC)
9. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC)

1. Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemian RFC, co-captain)
2. Kate Sheehan (UL Bohemian RFC)
3. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemian RFC)
4. Roisin Ormond (Ballincollig RFC)
5. Siobhan McCarthy (Railway Union RFC)
6. Edel Murphy (UL Bohemian RFC)
7. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian RFC)
8. Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC, co-captain)

Replacements:

16. Orla Curtin (Shannon RFC)
17. Andrea Stock (Bantry Bay RFC)
18. Clodagh Cronin (Durham University RFC)
19. Clodagh O’Halloran (UL Bohemian RFC)
20. Sarah Quin (Richmond RFC)
21. Christine Coffey (Thurles RFC)
22. Ciara Scanlan (St. Marys College RFC)
23. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC)

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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