Donegal women Larissa Muldoon and Nora Stapleton are chasing a place in the semi-final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup when Ireland face France this afternoon (Thursday) at the UCD Bowl, Dublin.
They are expected to once again feature for Ireland in the crunch tie that will determine who will top Group C. The group winners will automatically qualify for one of three semi-final places.
The fourth semi-final berth will be determined by the best runner-up from the three group tournament.
The Donegal women play in the two pivotal positions, Ballybofey native Muldoon at scrum-half and Stapleton, from Fahan at out-half.
Both women have made their mark so far in the campaign. Muldoon scored Ireland’s opening try against Australia on Wednesday evening of last week.
Stapleton, who is the team’s place kicker, converted two of Ireland’s three tries in their narrow 19-17 win over the Aussies.
And the Fahan woman scored 11 of Ireland’s 24 points in Ireland’s 24-14 win over Japan, in their second game on Sunday evening, also at UCD.
The 11 points was made up of four conversions and one penalty as Ireland, the raging hot favourites for the game, got the fright of their lives.
Ireland found themselves 14-0 down against the minnows at half-time.
Muldoon did not play against Japan as Irish head coach Tom Tierney, rested a number first choice player for the game with Japan, one of the bottom seeds at the tournament. In all Tierney made seven changes from the Australian game.
France have also won their two opening games against Japan and Australia. But because of a much bigger try count they lead Ireland by two points on the league table.