Six Nations 2015: Ireland Women name unchanged team

Captain Niamh Briggs earns her 50th cap as Tom Tierney's side go in search of the Triple Crown with a win against Scotland

By Gareth Llewellyn

Tom Tierney has named an unchanged Ireland Women side for their RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland in Cumbernauld on Sunday.

The Ireland Women head coach keeps faith with the team that whitewashed Wales Women 20-0 in Swansea five days ago as they go in search of silverware at Broadwood Stadium.

The quality of the players has shone through in the results, and fingers crossed Scotland will be another win.

Ireland Women head coach Tom Tierney on Six Nations campaign

Experienced Munster number 8 Heather O’Brien has recovered from the injury that forced her off in the first half against Wales to take her place in the pack, giving Ireland the perfect platform to record a fourth win from their five matches this year.

Munster full-back Niamh Briggs (pictured above), who took over the captaincy after Fiona Coghlan retired after the Women’s Rugby World Cup last year, wins her 50th cap for Ireland, seven years after making her debut against Italy.

With the changes on and off the field ahead of this year’s championship, Tierney insists the players have stepped up to give the 2013 champions a chance of finishing on a high this weekend.

“It’s been a huge three months, a lot of change and getting to know people, and new ways of doing things on the field,” Tierney told Irish Rugby TV.

“Thankfully the quality of the players has shone through in the results, and fingers crossed Scotland will be another win.

“There’s no point in not having it in our thinking. We’ll know on Saturday night after the French-English game whether we just need to beat Scotland by any score or whether points difference comes into the equation.

“We’re not going to shy away from that. We need to know that – that’s all information for the players.

“We’ll sit down on Saturday night and fine tune our gameplan, then it’s down to the girls to finish off a great and impressive Six Nations hopefully with a win against Scotland.”

Ireland can claim the Triple Crown with a win, while they could also reclaim their Six Nations crown if defending champions France fall to England at Twickenham on Saturday night.

We are going to be mentally ready to take Scotland on its merits. We have to win the game first before we look at anything.

Tom Tierney on Ireland’s approach to winning the title

Scotland have not secured a win in the Six Nations since they overcame France in Aberdeen back in 2010, but Jules Maxton’s side have improved over the course of the championship, and will fancy their chances of causing an upset as Italy did in the last round when they ended France’s hopes of recording consecutive Grand Slams with a shock win in Badia Polesine.

For Ireland, who have beaten the Scots in their last nine meetings since 2006, the permutations for landing the championship title are simpler than in the men’s tournament that ends on Saturday, but Tierney insists that his side need to focus on winning the game before they consider the wider picture.

“That’s the mental challenge, and it’s going to be a new one for this group of players, but it’s all about learning,” he added.

“We are going to be mentally ready to take Scotland on its merits. We have to win the game first before we look at anything.

“We’re going to concentrate on our basics, both in defence and attack, and how we go about the first 10, 15, 20 minutes, and set the scene for ourselves.

“We just work our way through the game, and keep doing what we’ve been doing for the Six Nations so far.

“That’s the key and hopefully we don’t let the emotion get the better of us, and we just do our job.”

Scotland Women: Chloe Rollie (Melrose); Nuala Deans (Wasps), Gillian Inglis (Melrose), Hannah Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill), Eilidh Sinclair (Murrayfield Wanderers); Lisa Martin (Murrayfield Wanderers), Sarah Law (Murrayfield Wanderers); Lisa Robertson (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lana Skeldon (Melrose), Tracy Balmer (Worcester, captain), Deborah McCormack (Richmond), Emma Wassell (Murrayfield Wanderers), Rachael Cook (Murrayfield Wanderers), Karen Dunbar (RHC Cougars), Jade Konkel (Hillhead Jordanhill).

Replacements: Sarah Quick (Murrayfield Wanderers), Lindsey Smith (Hillhead Jordanhill), Heather Lockhart (Hillhead Jordanhill), Fiona Sim (Saracens), Lyndsay O’Donnell (Worcester); Mhairi Grieve (RHC Cougars), Claire Bain (RHC Cougars), Jenny Maxwell (Lichfield).

Ireland: Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster, captain); Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile), Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht); Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Larissa Muldoon (Skewen); Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht), Gillian Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo), Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), Heather O’Brien (Highfield/Munster).

Replacements: Sarah Mimnagh (Wasps/Exile), Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians/Munster), Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster), Katie Norris (Blackrock/Leinster), Tania Rosser (Blackrock/Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht), Aoife Doyle (Shannon/Munster).

Referee: Jess Beard (NZRU).


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