Ireland women make seven changes

Sene Naoupu (left) and Claire McLaughlin

Claire McLaughlin (centre) will form a new centre partnership with Sene Naoupu (left)

Ireland women’s coach Tom Tierney has made seven changes in personnel from the win over Italy for Sunday’s final Six Nations game against Scotland.

Queen’s player Claire McLaughlin will make her first start while Nora Stapleton and Larissa Muldoon return to the half-back berths.

Ruth O’Reilly, Zoe Grattage, Claire Molloy and Paula Fitzpatrick are all drafted into the forwards.

Captain Niamh Briggs switches from centre to full-back.

Briggs’ inclusion sees Kim Flood dropping to the bench with McLaughlin starting at centre after earning her first cap against Italy last weekend.

Stapleton and Muldoon replace Nikki Caughey and Mary Healy in the half-backs while front-row changes see Ruth O’Reilly and Zoe Grattage taking over from Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney.

Ciara Cooney switches to lock as Marie-Louise Reilly drops out with Claire Molloy and Paula Fitzpatrick named in the back row and Sophie Spence relegated to the replacements.

Ireland coach Tierney said the latest selection emphasised his continuing attempts to build “strength in depth” in the squad.

“Since we began the season back in November with our first ever autumn test against England, there have been 14 new caps and that is very important for women’s rugby in Ireland,” said Tierney.

“Overall we’re pleased with how the Six Nations has progressed so far.

“While the results away to England and France were disappointing, we have won our two home games and will be hoping to make it three this weekend.”

Ireland: Niamh Briggs; Liz Burke, Claire McLaughlin, Sene Naoupu, Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Larissa Muldoon; Ruth O’Reilly, Zoe Grattage, Ailis Egan; Elaine Anthony, Ciara Cooney; Ciara Griffin, Claire Molloy, Paula Fitzpatrick

Replacements: Cliodhna Moloney, Fiona Hayes, Fiona Reidy, Orla Fitzsimons, Sophie Spence, Mary Healy, Aine Donnelly, Kim Flood.

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