Six Irish changes for vital France game

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Mairead Coyne (centre) drops out of the match day squad after starting at full-back against Japan
Women’s Rugby World Cup: Ireland v France
Venue: UCD Bowl, Dublin Date: 17 August Kick-off: 19:45 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra and text commentary on the BBC Sport website and app.

Ireland coach Tom Tierney has made six changes for Thursday’s Women’s World Cup Pool C decider against France.

Defeat will eliminate hosts Ireland, with their hopes of a top runners-up spot extinguished after narrow opening wins over Australia and Japan.

In the backs, Eimear Considine and Jenny Murphy replace Mairead Coyne and Katie Fitzhenry.

Leah Lyons, Ailis Egan, Marie Louise O’Reilly and Paula Fitzpatrick are drafted into the pack.

Lyons and Egan take over from Cliodhna Moloney and Ciara O’Connor in the front row with O’Reilly replacing Ciara Cooney at lock and number eight Fitzpatrick’s inclusion resulting in Ulster’s Ashleigh Baxter dropping to the bench.

Hannah Tyrrell switches from wing to full-back as Considine gets the number 14 jersey.

Nicole Cronin retains the scrum-half role after replacing Larissa Muldoon for the Japan game, when the Irish fought back from 14-0 down to win 24-14.

Thursday’s side shows four changes from the narrow opening 19-17 win over Australia with Cronin, Lyons, Ciara Griffin and Sophie Spence in for Muldoon, Moloney, Baxter and Heather O’Brien.

Ireland’s Pool C fixtures
All matches at UCD Bowl, Dublin
Wednesday, 9 August Australia Ireland won 19-17
Sunday, 13 August Japan Ireland won 24-14
Thursday, 17 August France 19:45

In contrast to Ireland’s laboured opening Pool C wins, France have romped to 72-14 and 48-0 victories over Japan and Australia.

And while Ireland won last season’s Six Nations encounter at Donnybrook, France’s form so far in the tournament means they will go into Thursday’s encounter as favourites.

Ireland coach Tierney accepts that the French should be “full of confidence” after their opening pool wins but believes his side can rise to the occasion.

“It’s a cup final tomorrow night, with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs, so we want the players to go out there and give it everything,” said Tierney.

“It won’t be easy, but with the crowd behind them, they have the ability to claim a place in the final four.”

Ireland: H Tyrrell; E Considine, J Murphy, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Stapleton, N Cronin; L Peat, L Lyons, A Egan; S Spence, ML O’Reilly; C Griffin, C Molloy (capt), P Fitzpatrick. Replacements: C Moloney, R O’Reilly, C O’Connor, A Baxter, H O’Brien, L Muldoon, K Fitzhenry, L Galvin.


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