Ireland focus on Triple Crown to keep championship hopes alive

Women’s Six Nations Preview: Wales v Ireland, Swansea RFC, 12pm – Live on 2FM

Forget about winning a still-possible second Six Nations title in three seasons for a moment. This should be viewed as leg two of the Triple Crown. That still matters considering the changes in coaching structure and playing personnel which couldn't deny Ireland so impressively overcoming England in round three.

Wales have already beaten the much-changed World Champions in round one but lost 28-7 away to France. This is their Triple Crown game.

"I was really pleased how we performed in the first half against France," said Wales coach Rhys Edwards. "We finished strongly and had an opportunity to go in at 8-3 which would have been a true reflection of the half. But things turned very quickly with the yellow card right on half-time and then three or four minutes after the break we lost another player which made it difficult for ourselves."

Key strength

A key strength for Ireland, again, appears to be the relief

Tom Tierney

can spring off the bench.

Larissa Muldoon

has nailed down the scrumhalf berth but Tania Rosser’s experience was equally valuable in the endgame against England.

“I know game management is my strength,” said Rosser. “That’s what is needed in an impact player. Wales will try to slow us up at the ruck so with quick ball we will be fine. We also need to use our speed. We got fast wingers so we need to get the ball out to them. I think the centres will come into this a bit more as well.”

Jackie Shiels' return to midfield alongside Jenny Murphy, which should improve the distribution out wide where Ali Miller and Hannah Tyrrell can do damage if brought into play on a regular basis.

Anthony Eddy, Ireland's new head of women's Sevens and 15 aside, will be vital as he brings a wealth of attacking rugby intellect from his time with the ACT Brumbies. Also, as Rosser noted, the championship is not out of reach. "If we get good wins here and in Scotland who knows what England can do (to France) in Twickenham." WALES: D Hywel; E Evans, A Taviner, G Rowland , L Harries; E Snowsill , A Day; J Davies, C Phillips, C Edwards , J Hawkins, R Taylor (capt), S Williams, S Harries, S Powell Hughes. Replacements: A Lawrence, C Thomas, A Evans, R Rowe, M Clay, K Bevan , K Lake, Hannah Jones. IRELAND: N Briggs (UL Bohemian, capt); H Tyrrell (Old Belvedere); J Murphy (Old Belvedere), J Shiels (Richmond), A Miller (Portlaoise); N Stapleton (Old Belvedere), L Muldoon (Skewen RFC); R O'Reilly (Galwegians), G Bourke (Olympico de Pozuelo RFC), A Egan (Old Belvedere); S Spence (Old Belvedere), ML Reilly (Old Belvedere); P Fitzpatrick (St Mary's), C Molloy (Bristol), H O'Brien (Highfield). Replacements: S Mimnagh (Wasps), F Hayes (UL Bohemian), F O'Brien (Old Belvedere), O Fitzsimons (St Marys), K Norris (Blackrock), T Rosser (Blackrock), S Naoupu (Galwegians), Aoife Doyle (Shannon). Verdict: Ireland.