Ireland Ready for Japan: #WRWC Preview

August 12, 2017

Ireland Ready for Japan:  #WRWC Preview


Photo: INPHO/Bryan Keane (Ireland captain Claire Molloy in the middle of a rolling maul against Australia)

Doug Coil

The Ireland Women’s team will play Japan tomorrow, August 13 at 5:15pm (12:15pm ET) at the UCD Bowl. The match may be viewed on

Ireland, the 5th ranked team in the world, defeated 6th ranked Australia 19-17 in a thrilling opening day match. Meanwhile, the 14th ranked Japan faced the 4th ranked France, losing 72-14.


Head coach Tom Tierney has made seven changes and two positional switches to the starting XV that defeated Australia on August 9. The team is resting some regular starters, as they will face France next Thursday.

In the front row, tighthead prop Ciara O’Connor will gain her first international start. Lindsay Peat at loosehead prop and Cliodhna Moloney at hooker retain their positions. Sophie Spence will start at lock along with Ciara Cooney. Spence and O’Connor came into the match against Australia as replacements.

In the backrow, Ciara Griffin will start at flanker and join Ashleigh Baxter, with captain Claire Molloy moving to No. 8.

In the backs, Nicole Cronin will earn her first 15s cap for Ireland at scrumhalf, where she will partner with Nora Stapleton, a seasoned veteran with 46 caps. The centers, Sene Naoupin retains her position, while Katie Fitzhenry, a reserve against Australia, will gain the start at center.

In the back three, Mairead Coyne will make her World Cup debut at full-back, with Hannah Tyrrell moving to wing, where she will be joined by veteran winger Alison Miller.

In the reserves, Louise Galvin, a Sevens international, could make her international debut off the bench. Flanker Anna Caplice and back Jeamie Deacon could also gain their second cap.


Japan has made two changes in their starting XV from their opening 72-14 loss to France. Three replacements are also new in Yui Shiozaki, Ayaka Suzuki and Ai Tasaka.

Japan forwards remain the same as in the first mach against France, with one important exception. Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave at No. 8 was injured in their loss to France and has been replaced by Maki Takano for this match.

In the backs, Riho Kurogi replaces Makiko Tomita at inside center. Tomita was given a three match suspension for a red card during the match against France.

For the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, Japan hopes to gain valuable experience in playing against non Asian international sides. This is needed for the team to improve.

Ireland is formidable opponent and Japan will hope to improve on their performance against France. Playing before the home crowd for Ireland, Ireland will also see how many of their reserves step up.

Ireland v Japan: 1 Lindsay Peat 2 Cliodhna Moloney 3 Ciara O’Connor 4 Ciara Cooney 5 Sophie Spence 6 Ciara Griffin 7 Ashleigh Baxter 8 Claire Molloy (Captain) 9 Nicole Cronin 10 Nora Stapleton 11 Alison Miller 12 Sene Naoupin 13 Katie Fitzhenry 14 Hannah Tyrrell 15 Mairead Coyne 16 Leah Lyons 17 Ruth O’Reilly 18 Ailis Egan 19 Paula Fitzpatrick 20 Anna Caplice 21 Larissa Muldoon 22 Jeamie Deacon 23 Louise Galvin

Japan v Ireland: 1 Makoto Ebuchi 2 Seina Saito (captain) 3 Saki Minami 4 Aoi Mimura 5 Ayano Sakurai 6 Yuki Sue 7 Ayaka Suzuki 8 Maki Takano 9 Moe Tsukui 10 Minori Yamamoto 11 Honoka Tsutsumi 12 Riho Kurogi 13 Iroha Nagata 14 Eriko Hirano 15 Mayu Shimizu 16 Misaki Suzuki 17 Mizuho Kataoka 18 Maiko Fujimoto 19 Aya Nakajima 20 Yui Shiozaki 21 Yumeno Noda 22 Ayaka Suzuki 23 Ai Tasaka

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