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Irish need to step it up, admits Griggs

By Cian Tracey

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has resisted the temptation to ring the changes for his side's Six Nations clash against Italy at Donnybrook on Sunday (1.00pm).

Instead the Kiwi has drafted in just three players after the France defeat, with Nichola Fryday and Paula Fitzpatrick promoted from the bench to both start in the second-row.

Like several others in the squad, Fitzpatrick has made a positional switch, having played the majority of her rugby at No 8.

Katie Fitzhenry was involved with the Ireland sevens in Sydney last week and she comes into the midfield in place of Claire McLaughlin, who drops to the bench.

Edel McMahon and Michelle Claffey are set to make their debuts from the bench, while there is also a welcome recall for scrum-half Nicole Cronin who impressed during the World Cup.

Ireland were out-fought and out-thought in France last week, losing 24-0, and Griggs will be demanding a big response.

"It was a very tough encounter in France," he admitted.

"While we were disappointed in some aspects of our execution, there was plenty to learn from and build on for this week.

"There were a number of new combinations and while that will take time to bed in, we are focused on improving our performance for the first of three home games in Donnybrook."

IRELAND WOMEN (v Italy, Donnybrook): K Flood; M Williams, F Kitzhenry, S Naoupu, A Miller; N Briggs, A Hughes; L Peat, C Moloney, F Reidy; P Fitzpatrick, N Fryday; A Caplice, C Molloy, C Griffin (capt). Reps: L Lyons, L Feely, C O'Connor, O Fitzsimons, E McMahon, N Cronin, M Claffey, C McLaughlin.

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