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RBS 6 Nations: Ulster Rugby trio drop to Ireland bench

By Niall Crozier

A trio of Ulster players who started for Ireland Women in their historic 39-0 win over Italy at the weekend revert to bench duty for tonight's meeting with France in Pau.

With Leinster centre Jenny Murphy and Exiles scrum-half Larissa Muldoon recalled to the starting XV and Munster's Gillian Bourke back at hooker in tandem with Ailis Egan's reinstatement at tight-head, head coach Philip Doyle has named Grace Davitt, Amy Davis and Stacey-Lea Kennedy in the replacements.

He said: "The team put in a fine performance against Italy in their first ever game at the Aviva Stadium, but we are under no illusions as to the challenge ahead of us.

"France are the form team of the championship – they beat England reasonably comfortably in round one. We will need to match their physicality and take our chances when they come."

While the unbeaten French have an unassailable 137 plus points difference, Ireland – Grand Slam winners last season – can stop the hosts emulating that achievement by beating them tomorrow night at Stade du Hameau.

Ireland Women: Niamh Briggs; Ashleigh Baxter , Lynne Cantwell, Jenny Murphy , Alison Miller; Nora Stapleton, Larissa Muldoon; Fiona Coghlan (captain), Gillian Bourke, Ailis Egan; Sophie Spence , Marie-Louise Reilly; Siobhan Fleming, Claire Molloy, Heather O' Brien. Replacements: Stacey-Lea Kennedy, Fiona Hayes, Kerrie-Ann Craddock, Paula Fitzpatrick , Amy Davis , Hannah Casey, Grace Davitt, Jackie Shiels .

* IRELAND U-20s face a particularly arduous looking task tonight as they bring down the curtain on their Six Nations campaign by attempting to derail France's march towards a potential championship and Grand Slam at Stade Maurice Trelut in southern France (kick-off 8.55 local time), writes Michael Sadlier.

Irish coach Mike Ruddock said: "There is an opportunity for fresh faces to show what they can deliver against quality opposition."

Ireland U-20s: C Kelleher, A Wootton, D Goggin, P Robb, A Byrne, C McKeon, J Cullen; P Dooley, M Abbott, R Burke, S O'Brien (capt), R Molony, P Timmins, R Moloney, J O'Donoghue. Replacements: S McNulty, D Coulson, O Heffernan, S Gardiner, F Taggart, N McCarthy, R Byrne, D Busby.

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