Six Nations 2015: Ireland Women make one change for France

Head coach Tom Tierney keeps faith with team that defeated Italy as Grand Slam champions France head to Ashbourne

Ireland Women have made one change for their home Six Nations clash against reigning champions France at Ashbourne.

Head Coach Tom Tierney has promoted Leinster’s Katie Fitzhenry from the bench to start at inside centre with the Exiles’ Jackie Shiels dropping to the bench.

This week sees another step up for the players in terms of opposition. Playing at home is a great plus for us.

Tom Tierney

Despite a number of personnel changes within the women’s set-up, Ireland will be out to avenge last year’s final round 19-15 defeat to France in Pau, which consigned the then Grand Slam champions to a third-place finish as France claimed a Grand Slam for the first time since 2005.

Ireland opened up their 2015 Six Nations campaign with a comfortable 30-5 win over Italy in Florence last week

Captain Niamh Briggs had given the Irish a 7-0 half-time lead, but a strong second-half performance saw Tierney’s side pull away.

But a home clash with title favourites France will give Ireland a chance for revenge after Les Bleues defeated them 25-18 in the third-place play-off at the Women’s Rugby World Cup last August.

“It was great to get the result last week and there was some good things we can take out of the Italy clash,” Tierney said.

“This week sees another step up for the players in terms of opposition.

“Playing at home is a great plus for us and hopefully we will have a big Ashbourne crowd to make it a good atmosphere to help give those home supporters a good performance and a win.”

Ireland: Niamh Briggs (Munster, captain); Hannah Tyrrell (Leinster), Jenny Murphy (Leinster), Katie Fitzhenry (Leinster), Alison Miller (Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen RFC); Ruth O’Reilly (Connacht), Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo RFC), Ailis Egan (Leinster), Sophie Spence (Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (Leinster), Claire Molloy (Connacht), Heather O’Brien (Munster)

Replacements: Sarah Mimnagh (Exiles), Fiona Hayes (Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (Leinster), Katie Norris (Leinster); Tania Rosser (Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Exiles), Sene Naoupu (Connacht).

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