Nicole Cronin will earn her first cap at 15s rugby as Ireland head coach Tom Tierney rings the changes for Sunday’s game against Japan, kick-off 5.15pm.

Ireland got their Women's Rugby World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 19-17 win over Australia on Wednesday.

Sophie Spence has earned a starting spot after scoring the winning try in the opening game and she will be joined in the second-row by Ciara Cooney with Paula Fitzpatrick moving to the bench.

Ciara Griffin’s impressive performance from the bench in the last game also earns her a place in the starting line-up.

She gets the nod at blindside flanker, with Ashleigh Baxter at openside and captain Claire Molloy switching from seven to eight. 

Sevens star Cronin will replace Larissa Muldoon at scrum-half while Sene Naoupu and Katie Fitzhenry making up the centre partnership.

Mairead Coyne comes in at full-back as Hannah Tyrrell moves to the wing meaning Eimear Considine loses out.

"We had a really tough encounter with Australia on Sunday evening in the opening game," said Tierney.

"And while we came away with the win, there are a number of areas that we've focused on over the past two days that we will need to improve on for the test with Japan.

"We know that the Japanese are going to throw everything at us tomorrow evening. They're very fit, they like to move the ball wide and they are very quick to the break down.

"We've made a number of changes to the side from the Australia game with a view to giving some players a rest from what was a very physical game, but we also want to give the other members of the squad the opportunity to show what they can do against a fast and agile Japanese team."

Ireland (v Japan): 15. Mairead Coyne, 14. Hannah Tyrrell, 13. Katie Fitzhenry, 12. Sene Naoupu, 11. Alison Miller, 10. Nora Stapleton, 9. Nicole Cronin, 1. Lindsay Peat, 2. Cliodhna Moloney, 3. Ciara O'Connor, 4. Ciara Cooney, 5. Sophie Spence, 6. Ciara Griffin, 7. Ashleigh Baxter, 8. Claire Molloy

Replacements: 16. Leah Lyons,17. Ruth O'Reilly, 18. Ailis Egan,19. Paula Fitzpatrick, 20. Anna Caplice, 21. Larissa Muldoon, 22. Jeamie Deacon, 23. Louise Galvin

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