Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Doyle shuffles pack as Irish eye history books

United: Head coach Philip Doyle talks to his players ahead of the Kazakhstan clash today

Philip Doyle has rung the changes ahead of Ireland's final pool game against Kazakhstan today (12pm). There are 10 personnel changes in total, with one eye clearly on the semi-finals in just five days.

There are 10 personnel changes in total, with one eye clearly on the semi-finals in just five days.

If Ireland beat the bottom side this afternoon, they would qualify for the last four of the World Cup for the first time in their history.

Lynne Cantwell captains the side in the absence of Fiona Coghlan, who will be on the bench.

Cantwell resumes her centre partnership with Grace Davitt in what is otherwise a new-look back-line.

Tania Rosser switches to fly-half with Larissa Muldoon starting at scrum-half.

Outside of them, Jackie Shiels, Vikki McGinn and Hannah Casey all make their first starts of the tournament.

Up front, Gillian Bourke and Paula Fitzpatrick are the only players to retain their places in the starting XV.

Bourke again starts at hooker and will form a front-row partnership with Fiona Hayes and Kerrie Ann Craddock.

Fitzpatrick switches from blindside flanker to No 8, while in the second-row, Orla Fitzsimons makes her first appearance in France.

Kazakhstan have conceded two try-scoring bonus points in their opening two games and currently have the worst defence in the competition. They have already shipped a total 126 points (21 tries) in their two games, but Doyle is adamant that his side will not take them for granted.

"Tuesday's win against New Zealand was fantastic and really showed what this team can do," he said.

"However, it was one game and we still have a lot of rugby to play.

"This World Cup is, and always has been, about our 26-player squad, and we are in a great position that we can use fresh players to maintain our standards and performances to date.

"Kazakhstan are a hugely physical side and we are not underestimating them, they will certainly not be overcome easily," Doyle added.

Ireland go into today's game knowing that they are one step away from making history but after Tuesday's victory over the Black Ferns, their sights are firmly set on the biggest prize of all.

Ireland: J Shiels; V McGinn, L Cantwell (c), G Davitt, H Casey; T Rosser, L Muldoon; F Hayes, G Bourke, K A Craddock; L Guest, O Fitzsimons; S Lynch, S Fleming, P Fitzpatrick. Replacements: F Coghlan, A Egan, S Spence, C Molloy, N Stapleton, A Miller, A Baxter.

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