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Irish captain Briggs helps champions Munster off the mark in inter-pros

Munster eke out slender win, while Leinster rout Ulster

Sene Naoupu of Connacht gets a pass off as she's tackled by Nicola Scully.
Sene Naoupu of Connacht gets a pass off as she's tackled by Nicola Scully.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Connacht 3 – 8 Munster, Sportsground

AS STARS OF Ireland’s Women’s Six Nations winning campaign Jenny Murphy and Hannah Tyrrell were shining at the Women’s Sevens tournament in Belfield, there were also stellar performances from fellow internationals such as Ireland captain Niamh Briggs, Ailis Egan and Sophie Spence in the fifteen aside game in the opening round of the 2015 Interprovincial Series.

Reigning champions Munster got off to a winning start in the Sportsground against a dogged Connacht.

Briggs, who is also Munster’s skipper was playing at out half rather than at fullback but as usual she was her side’s designated place kicker. The Waterford woman opened the scoring with a penalty on the 10-minute mark.

Munster’s slim advantage was soon cancelled out with a three pointer from Connacht’s out half Nicole Fowley.

Close to half time, Munster loose head prop Fiona Reidy scored a try from a lineout maul. It would prove to be both the only try of the match and also the decisive score.

Niamh Briggs celebrates with try scorer Fiona Reidy Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Despite Connacht’s ability to turn over ruck-ball regularly and some good back play from the likes of wings Niamh Ní Dhroma and Ursula Sammon as well as an injection of pace from New Zealand born Irish international Sene Naoupu, the Munster women hung on to seal a 8 points 3 victory.

Ulster 0 – 38 Leinster, Portadown RFC

In Portadown, Ulster’s home fixture turned out to be one-sided affair in favour of visitors Leinster.

Scoring was opened on the 11th minute with a Paula Fitzpatrick try. Soon after, Leinster wing Amy Cotter slipped through to score in the corner at 18 minutes.

Further first half scores came from Leinster’s tight head and captain Ailis Egan – one of Ireland women’s most valuable assets – and Nora Stapleton.

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Leinster showed their ruthlessness just two minutes into the second half as centre Elise O’Beirne White added her name to the scoresheet.

From this point, Ulster’s young side – under the stewardship of former Ireland Women’s coach Philip Doyle and Australian Jarrett Truscott – started to show their metal. 18-year old scrum half Kathryn Dane on her Ulster debut showed great control and demonstrated why she has been touted as “one to watch”.

Ulster, however, could not capitalise on their growing confidence and it was Leinster’s blindside flanker Sophie Spence, currently nominated for World Rugby’s Women’s Player of the Year, who had the final say from the last play of the game to bring her side’s try count to six and a final score line of 0-38.

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Kate Rowan

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