4 Dec, 09:57
This Friday night coming, 6th December (kick-off 7.45pm), Midleton RFC host Sundays Well RFC in the All Ireland League "under lights" at Towns Park.
Ireland Women's Coach Kevin West has included several familiar faces and a sprinkling of new talent with four new caps in the starting XV.
Munster captain and last year's Irish Captain Joy Neville starts at number 8 and is joined in the forwards by her interprovincial teammates Kate O'Loughlin and Highfield hooker Chris Fanning, who receives her first cap at International level. Clonmel's Niamh Briggs holds the fullback position.
Munster vice captain Helen Brosnan, Gillian Bourke, Louise Beamish and Louise Austin are all named in the replacements.
The Ireland Women's team are based in Ashbourne Rugby Club for their championship campaign.
Ireland Women's Captain Fiona Coghlan is looking forward to the first game and won't be taking Italy lightly: "With Italy you don't know from one year to the other what their game plan will be because they're further away, without much press and without a lot of news about their club games. They are the unknown."
Ireland Women's Team and Replacements (V Italy Women, RBS 6 Nations Championship, Ashbourne RFC, Friday February 5th, ko 19:30)
15. Niamh Briggs (Clonmel - Munster)
14. Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere - Leinster)
13. Grace Davitt (Blackrock - Leinster)
12. Shannon Houston (Blackrock - Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise - Connacht)
10. Joanne O'Sullivan (Richmond - Exile)
9. Tania Rosser (Blackrock - Leinster)
1. Fiona Coghlan (UL Bohemians - Leinster)
2. Chris Fanning (Highfield - Munster)
3. Emer McManamly (Blackrock - Leinster)
4. Kate O'Loughlin (Clonmel - Munster)
5. Marie Louise Reilly (Navan - Leinster)
6. Carol Staunton (Galwegians - Connacht)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol - Connacht)
8. Joy Neville (UL Bohemians - Munster)
16. Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians - Munster)
17. Lauren Day (Cooke - Ulster)
18. Caroline Mahon (UL Bohemians - Leinster)
19. Louise Austin (UL Bohemians - Munster)
20. Louise Beamish (UL Bohemians - Munster)
21. Helen Brosnan (Highfield - Munster)
22. Eliza Downey (Cooke - Ulster)