©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
6 Nations

Briggs back as Ireland Women make two changes for Wales

Larissa Muldoon has also been promoted from the bench.

IRELAND COACH PHILIP Doyle has handed a recall to fullback Niamh Briggs for this Friday’s Six Nations clash with Wales in Ashbourne.

The Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year missed out on a starting berth for last week’s 59 – 0 rout of Scotland as she was eased into action after return from injury.

This week, though, the leading points scorer in Ireland’s Grand Slam season is back in her favoured number 15 jersey with Jacke Shiels dropping to the bench.

Fiona Coghlan’s captaincy continues in an unchanged pack, but Larissa Muldoon has been installed as Nora Stapleton’s half back partner ahead of Amy Davis.

There is a third change among the replacements,where Ulster’s Ashleigh Baxter comes in for Orla Fitzsimons.

“The performance we put in against Scotland was coming for some time,” said Doyle after announcing his squad today, “but we are under no illusions as to the challenge the Welsh girls will present.  There was only two points between the teams last year so this week we will require a further step up in performance from the group.

Ireland (v Wales): Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster); Hannah Casey (Saracens), Lynne Cantwell (Richmond), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Alison Miller (Portlaoise RFC/UCC/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster). Larissa Muldoon (Bristol).

Fiona Coghlan (Captain – UL Bohemians/Leinster), Stacey-Lea Kennedy (Cooke/Ulster), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster); 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: Gill Bourke (UL Bohemians/Munster), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster),  Kerrie –Ann Craddock (Saracens), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Amy Davis (Blackrock /Ulster), Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster), Grace Davitt (Cooke/Ulster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond).

Analysis: Is Ireland’s midfield combination working?

Ulster secure Anscombe services for one more season