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Captain Coghlan calls for big step-up

By Niall Crozier

Ireland women's captain Fiona Coghlan has warned against complacency as her side welcome Wales to Ashbourne tonight (7.30).

Philip Doyle's charges kicked off the defence of their Grand Slam title in hugely impressive fashion as they saw off Scotland in an 11-try rout last weekend. But Coghlan has called on her team-mates to refocus for the much bigger test they'll face this weekend.

"We were a bit worried and cautious as we haven't played that well against Scotland the last two times," said Coghlan.

"It's important we don't get ahead of ourselves. Scotland are a team in transition.

"We have Wales now and they will be a very different opposition. We can't run away with ourselves."

Doyle pointed out that last year's encounter between the sides was a tight affair and that the visit of Wales required a "step-up in performance" from Ireland this weekend.

"We are under no illusions as to the challenge the Welsh girls will present. There was only two points between the teams last year so this week we will require a further step- up in performance from the group," he said.

Niamh Briggs returns, while Larissa Muldoon comes in at No 9. Jackie Shiels and Amy Davis drop to the bench in an otherwise unchanged side.

Wales were pickpocketed by Italy last week.

* AFTER last week's 34-7 thumping of Scotland, Ireland Under-20s take on Wales tonight determined to make home advantage count again as they bid for a second successive championship win at Dubarry Park (kick-off 7.35pm), writes Michael Sadlier.

Irish coach Mike Ruddock has made one alteration to the starting side taking on his native land with Lansdowne's Cian Kelleher brought in on the wing in place of Adam Byrne in the otherwise unchanged Irish side which sees Queen's University's David Busby line out again at full back.

Ruddock has, though, made three changes to his bench with Ulster's interest in the squad being boosted through Belfast Harlequins' back rower Frank Taggart being brought in place of Rory Moloney.

"We got off to a good start in difficult conditions against the Scots but Welsh will provide a much sterner test," Ruddock said.

Ireland U20s: D Busby, C Kelleher, G Ringrose, P Robb, I Fitzpatrick, R Byrne, N McCarthy; P Dooley, M Abbott, R Burke, S O'Brien, R Molony, P Timmins, D Leavy, J O'Donoghue

Subs: S McNulty, D Coulson, O Heffernan, J Joyce, F Taggart, J Cullen, C McKeon, D Goggin

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