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Rugby - 12. February 2016.


France vs Ireland, Saturday 8pm:

Women's Launch

Ireland Women head coach Tom Tierney has kept faith in his girls, making just one change, as the reigning Women's Six Nations champions go in search of a first win on French soil in Perpignan.

Cliodhna Moloney comes in for Zoe Grattage at hooker for the women in green, who squeaked to Championship victory last year after the Grand Slam chasing French slipped up 17-12 against a resilient Italian team, having beaten the Irish 10-5 in Ashbourne.

The French gained a measure of retribution last weekend by thumping the Italians 39-0 in Bourg en Bresse, while the Irish women were impressive in seeing off a spirited Wales team in Donnybrook, with centre Sene Naoupu particularly dominant throughout.

Les Bleues will be looking to exorcise further demons against Tierney's side at the Stade Aime Giral. 

Blindside flanker Paula Fitzgerald, who along with number eight Heather O'Brien plays her club rugby for Toulouse, said the Irish are ready to improve upon their recent near misses in France.

"It is something that is hanging over our head now at this stage, we would like to put it to bed," she said. 

"We have never beaten France in France, but over the last few results there has only been a score in it and we will be looking to put that one right this weekend."

Italy vs England, Saturday 2pm:

World Champions England will look to continue their Women's Six Nations renaissance against the Italians on Saturday after dismantling a brave Scotland team at Broadwood Stadium last Friday.

Lead coach Scott Bemand has handed a debut to Bristol's uncapped 18-year-old Poppy Leitch and brought in Lydia Thompson for Lucy Demaine as he seeks to right England's unexpected fourth place finish in 2015.

Centre Lauren Cattell went over for England's first try against Scotland, and is hoping for more of the same against the Azzurre, with England gunning for their first successive wins since 2014. 

"It is really important for us to get that consistency with that team and make sure we're buildng upon what we did against Scotland, maybe picking up our accuracy and the little things that may have not gone so well against Scotland," she explained. 

"We are really gelling and building this team together."

Despite Italy's chastening defeat against the French, they will be looking to tie together an unprecedented string of three consecutive home wins when they face Bemand's side and finished above the English last year.

Andrea Di Giandomenico has made just three changes to his Italian outfit as - like their male counterparts - they bid for their first ever win against the Red Rose side.

Lucia Cammarano starts at hooker in place of Melissa Bettoni, Elisa Pillotti replaces Isabella Locatelli and the experienced Maria Grazia Cioffi starts at outside centre.

Wales vs Scotland, Sunday 2pm:

Scotland travel to South Wales without a Test win since 2011 and though soundly beaten against England, there were signs of hope for Shade Munro's side in the form of all-action Hillhead Jordanhill No.8 Jade Konkel and livewire clubmate Megan Gaffney.

Gaffney moves in from the wing to partner Lisa Thompson at centre and with Wales facing a minor injury crisis of their own, Scotland may fancy an upset at The Gnoll. 

Wales captain Rachel Taylor will miss Sunday's game as Rhys Edwards is forced to make four changes from Wales' defeat to Ireland.

Taylor's rib injury means Sian Williams swaps to blindside flanker and Alisha Butchers comes in for her first Wales start on the openside.

Carys Phillips, daughter of ex-Wales men's back rower Rowland, is captain while Siwan Lillicrap's first start will be in the second row as Sioned Harries switches from lock to No.8.

Kerin Lake suffered concussion in Ireland so Robyn Wilkins moves to centre as the experienced Elinor Snowsill comes in at fly-half.

"Alisha and Siwan both made an impact from the bench last weekend to earn their starting spots," Wales coach Edwards said.

"We're also fortunate to be able to bring someone with Elinor's experience back into the fold in the backline."

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