Three current Connacht interpro hopefuls, three former Connacht reps, and a Kilconley native will run out against England this Sunday, Nov 13 for the Ireland women.

Nicole Fowley and Mairead Coyne will join New Zealand national, their former Galwegian and Connacht team-mate Sene Naoupu in the backline this weekend, Fowley will line-up outside her in number 13, Coyne starts in the rearguard at fullback.

Women's Autumn International, The Twickenham Stoop, London, England 14/11/2015 England vs Ireland Ireland's Mairead Coyne tackled by Charlotte Clapp of England  Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Ireland’s Mairead Coyne tackled by Charlotte Clapp of England
Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

While Naoupu currently plies her trade with Harlequins in the UK having followed husband George after his Connacht contract expired last season, both Fowley and Coyne are relishing the opportunity against one of Women’s rugby’s heavyweights and perennial Six Nations contender.

For Coyne it is a much-appreciated return to the international fold about eight months out from Ireland hosting its first Rugby World Cup. Fowley debuts in an unfamiliar role, normally outhalf. Outside centre , however, is not completely foreign territory for the former soccer star having shone there already this season and last in All-Ireland club competitions.

Off the bench, internationally-capped scrumhalf Mary Healy will enter the fray if Larissa Muldoon is denied 80minutes.

Former Connacht captain Ruth O’Reilly, another of Galwegian RFC allegiance, was unavailable due to knee ligament damage sustained in club rugby less than a month ago.

Up front, Cliodhna Moloney of County Galway will start as hooker, continuing her impressive run of form for Railway and Leinster over the past two winters.

Of her first cap in Emerald Green, Fowley was Christmas Eve excited.

“I’ll need to be more confident, Irish camp is a little different, it’s a big step up. Very competitive and excellence and perfection is pretty much the bog standard among those girls.

“I’m still adjusting to finding opportunities within the structure to do my thing, but hopefully there’s a few opportunities in open space on Saturday to push my case?” she said this week.

Rounding out the Connacht connections, formeer interpro wing and World Cup superstar Ali Miller starts on the left and Colaiste Iognaid’s (The Jes’) past pupil Dr Claire Molloy reprises her role at openside flank.

The UCD kickoff 2pm Sunday marks the international season start; game one of three Autumn fixtures.,Canada follows on Nov 19 (Saturday) and New Zealand’s Black Ferns, Sunday Nov 27. All fixtures are at UCD, tickets through Ticketmaster.

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