Kathryn Dane set for first Ireland start in Six Nations trip to Italy
Enniskillen's Kathryn Dane will make her first international start when Ireland face Italy this weekend.
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The Old Belvedere scrum-half has been named in the starting XV for Saturday evening's game in Parma (kick-off 6.45 GMT).
Ulster back row duo Claire Boles and Claire McLaughlin have both been named among the replacements while Dane replaces Leinster's Ailsa Hughes in the only change to the starting side that beat Scotland 22-5 last time out.
Hughes joins Lindsay Peat and Laura Sheehan, named in the squad for the first time this tournament, on the bench.
"It was great to come away with five points after the Scotland test," said Head Coach Adam Griggs. "It was a physical game in tough conditions, but the players were focused on putting in a good team performance together and showing the quality rugby they can produce.
"We were pleased with the opportunities that we created and while the challenge for this group is to become even more clinical under pressure, we definitely feel each week we are improving and taking the right steps to get there.
"The Italian game should be a cracker, they have played well of late and are unbeaten so far in this championship which isn’t easy to do.
"We have been preparing diligently and know they have quality footballers that will put you under real pressure, we will need to be aware of these and look to close them down early if we are to get any success this Saturday night."
The match will be broadcast live by RTE, with coverage beginning at 6.30pm
Ireland Women’s team to face Italy Women
15. Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo/ IQ Rugby)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/ Munster)
13. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
12. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/ Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/ Connacht)
10. Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/ Connacht)
9. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/ Ulster)
1. Laura Feely (Galwegians/ Connacht)
2. Emma Hooban (St Mary’s College/ Leinster)
3. Leah Lyons (Harlequins)
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/ Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/ Connacht)
6. Anna Caplice (Richmond)
7. Claire Molloy (Wasps)
8. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/ Munster) Capt
16. Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (UL Bohemian/ Munster)
17. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/ Leinster)
18. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/ Munster)
19. Claire Boles (Railway Union)
20. Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/ Ulster)
21. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/ Leinster)
22. Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
23. Laura Sheehan (UL Bohemians/ Munster)
Ireland Women's Six Nations Fixtures and Results 2019
Friday 1 February: Ireland Women 7 v 51 England Women, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin
Friday 8 February: Scotland Women 5 v 22 Ireland Women, Scotstoun, Glasgow
Saturday 23 February: Italy
Saturday 9 March: Ireland Women v France Women, Energia Stadium, Dublin, 19.00hrs
Sunday 17 March: Wales Women v Ireland Women, Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff 13.30hrs
Belfast Telegraph Digital