UL Bohemians scrum half Nicole Cronin handed debut as Ireland make seven changes for Japan clash.
The Ireland Women’s team to play Japan in their second Pool C match of the Women’s Rugby World Cup has been named with a debut being handed to Limerick’s Nicole Cronin.
The former Ireland sevens player is one of seven changes made by head coach Tom Tierney following their 19-17 opening pool victory over Australia on Wednesday evening. Sunday’s clash kicks off at 5.15pm at the UCD Bowl.
As expected Tom Tierney took the opportunity to rest some regular starters with next Thursday’s showdown with France very much to the fore of his mind while also allowing as many of the squad as possible to get game time.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) August 12, 2017
Sophie Spence starts after scoring the winning try in the opening game and she will be joined in the second-row by Ciara Cooney as Paula Fitzpatrick moves to the bench.
Ciara Griffin’s impressive performance against Australia sees the UL Bohs woman and Tralee native claim a starting berth at no6 with Ashleigh Baxter at openside and captain Claire Molloy switching from seven to eight.
Nicole Cronin will replace Larissa Muldoon at scrum-half while Sene Naoupu and Katie Fitzhenry forming the centre partnership. Mairead Coyne comes in at full-back as Hannah Tyrrell switches to the wing resulting in Eimear Considine losing out.
Speaking to Irish Rugby during the build up for the Japan game, Tierney is taking nothing for granted.
“We had a really tough encounter with Australia in the opening game, and while we came away with the win, there’s a number of areas that we’ve focused on over the past two days that we will need to improve on for tomorrow’s match against Japan.
“We know that the Japanese are going to throw everything at us tomorrow evening. They’re very fit, they like to move the ball wide and they are very quick to the breakdown.
“We’ve made a number of changes to the side from the Australia game with a view to giving some players a rest from what was a very physical game, but we also want to give the other members of the squad the opportunity to show what they can do against a fast and agile Japanese team.”