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Ireland change three following last Saturday's hammering by England

By Liam Heagney
Ireland react after last weekend's loss to England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Head coach Scott Bemand has made three changes to his Ireland Guinness Six Nations team trounced last weekend by England.


The Irish embarrassingly lost out 10-88 at Twickenham against the defending champions and the reaction for this Saturday’s third-place decider at home to Scotland in Belfast has been to alter two backs, one forward, and also include an uncapped player on the bench.

In the backs, Meabh Deely is promoted from the bench to start at full-back in place of Lauren Delany while Enya Breen also makes the jump from the subs to swap places with midfielder Aoife Dalton, who takes up a spot in the reserves alongside Katie Heffernan, a Wolfhounds player with plenty of HSBC SVNS experience with Ireland.

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Up front, there is just one tweak to the pack with co-captain Sam Monaghan restored to the side in place of Hannah O’Connor.

Bemand said in an IRFU media release: “Last week was tough but we have seen a great bounce back in training. We are excited to bring Scotland to Belfast.

Womens Six Nations
Ireland Women's
15 - 12
Scotland Women's
All Stats and Data

“It will be a large and enthusiastic crowd, and we look forward to them revving up the atmosphere to drive the home advantage. With many permutations possible, we will focus on bringing the ‘best of us’ to go after that winning performance.”

Scotland, Italy, and Ireland are all in contention to finish third on the table and the prize is attractive – participation in this year’s WXV1 and qualification for next year’s Rugby World Cup.


Ireland (vs Scotland, Saturday)
15. Meabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht) 12
14. Katie Corrigan (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 4
13. Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC) 16
12. Enya Breen (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 19
11. Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht) 25
10. Dannah O’Brien (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 14
9. Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht) 11
1. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 36
2. Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury) 25
3. Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 17
4. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 27
5. Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartpury) Co-Captain 20
6. Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 6
7. Edel McMahon (Exeter Chiefs) Co-Captain 27
8. Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster) 22

16. Cliodhna Moloney (Exeter Chiefs) 33
17. Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 6
18. Sadhbh McGrath (Cooke RFC/Ulster) 12
19. Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster) 6
20. Shannon Ikahihifo (Ealing Trailfinders/IQ Rugby) 2
21. Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Leinster) 16
22. Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 14
23. Katie Heffernan (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) uncapped

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Flankly 16 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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