Rival Chiefs set to do battle in final Test

sheehan ireland.jpg

By Harry Scott-Munro

Exeter Chiefs’ Irish wing Laura Sheehan will be looking to round off a successful autumn campaign as she and her Ireland team-mates take on a fast-improving Japanese side containing her club-mates Sachiko Kato and Kanako Kobayashi.

Last week, Ireland put a difficult week of off-field discussion behind them to secure an impressive 20-10 victory over the USA.

Ciara Griffin will captain Ireland in her final game in green, after announcing earlier this week that she will bring the curtain down on her stellar international career following today’s game.

Head Coach Adam Griggs, who is taking charge of the team for the final time, has named three uncapped players in his match-day 23. Leinster duo Mary Healy and Ella Roberts and Connacht back Shannon Touhey are all included for the first time and will be hoping to make an impact off the bench. There will also be a first start at fly-half for Enya Breen with Stacey Flood, Beibhinn Parsons, Eve Higgins and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe all away preparing for the HSBC World Sevens Series.

Ahead of the match, Griggs is excited to see the depth that Ireland have at their disposal, as they look to build from the disappointment of missing out on the World Cup.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for the group as we head into our second Autumn Test. A number of players have earned their opportunity and it’s important to explore the depth within the group and build layers of experience as the group build towards the 2022 Women’s Six Nations,” he explained. “It is particularly exciting to see a number of young players coming through the Inter-Pros and All-Ireland League, and for them to get their chance at Test level this weekend is paramount as the team enters a new cycle.”

The Japanese will be looking to end their tour on a high, having suffered a 36-12 defeat to Scotland last weekend.

They led 12-10 at half-time, after a late try from Kato, but eventually the player advantage told for the Scots after Japanese second row Yuna Sato saw red after just 20 minutes, following direct contact to the head of Scottish back Rhona Lloyd.

Ahead of the match against Ireland, the Sakura 15 will be captained by Saki Minami, with Chiefs pair Kato and Kobayashi lining up at loosehead prop and inside centre respectively. Otoka Yoshimura is also set to earn her first test cap after being named in the second-row.

Sign up to the Chiefs Newsletter

To receive a copy of the Exeter Chiefs Newsletter, please enter your email address below. You will then receive an email to confirm that you wish to receive it. You can unsubscribe at any time simply by following the link at the bottom of the email.