Ireland coach Philip Doyle says his side will focus on “set-piece and patience” when they face Kazakhstan in their Women’s Rugby World Cup Pool B match at Marcoussis on Saturday afternoon (Live on TG4 at 12pm).
A 23-17 victory against the USA followed by a stunning win over tournament favourites New Zealand have put Ireland in pole position to qualify for the semi-finals. But Kazakhstan must still be overcome if Ireland are take their place in the last four.
Ireland have made 10 changes to their starting line-up but still expect a difficult test.
Doyle told IRFU TV: “We’ve decided to freshen up the starting team. We’re in a great position that we have got some very fresh people that we didn’t use in the first two games. It’s all about the 26-player squad.
“These girls have a great chance to come in and keep the standards set in the first two games. We still have to play some experienced ladies. It is a nice balanced team with youth and experience throughout. I’m very happy with our selection.”
Kazakhstan have struggled to date, shipping heavy losses against both New Zealand and USA. But Doyle expects a tricky outing.
“There is constant physicality throughout their game and it is going to be a tough one. Our mindset has to be set-piece and patience. The focus is on Kazakhstan. We are guaranteed nothing at the moment.”
Ireland’s match is the first of six that will conclude the Pool stages of the WRWC on Saturday.
If victory over Kazakhstan is achieved, results in the later games will decide Ireland’s semi-final opponent.
The winner of the clash between Pool C rivals France and Australia is Ireland’s most likely opponent in the last four while England could face New Zealand, who are well placed to qualify as the best runner-up, in the other semi-final.