Ireland XV named for Women’s Six Nations opener against England
Adam Griggs picks three uncapped players on the bench for Friday’s Donnybrook clash
Ireland women’s captain Ciara Griffin and coach Adam Griggs. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho
Women’s Six Nations, Ireland v England, Friday February 2nd, Donnybrook (kick-off 5.0pm)
Ireland women’s coach Adam Griggs has named his starting XV for Friday’s Six Nations opener against England at Donnybrook.
Ireland are looking to build on a 2018 campaign which saw them finish third after winning two and losing three of their five fixtures - including a 33-11 defeat to England in Coventry on the tournament’s closing weekend.
Ciara Griffin will captain Ireland from number eight, with Juliet Short and Claire Molloy alongside her in the backrow.
Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday are named in the engineroom with props Laura Feely and Fiona Reidy either side of Leah Lyons in the frontrow.
Nicole Fowley takes the number 10 jersey and she is joined in the halfbacks by Ailsa Hughes. Sene Naoupu and Michelle Claffey line up in midfield with Lauren Delaney at fullback and Eimear Considine and Megan Williams on the wings.
Linda Djougang, Anne Marie O’Hora and Kathryn Dane could all make their international debuts off the bench.
Ahead of Friday’s tournament opener, Griggs said: “There’s no bigger challenge than to open the Six Nations against England, they are second in the world for a reason and are a very good side who challenge you in every part of the game.
“We had a good Test against them in November and while we didn’t get the result, we showed some of the standards and improvements that are required to compete at this level which was a huge positive for us.
“We have had good preparations leading into this Friday and are looking for a strong performance to get the championship started in front of what we hope will be an amazing crowd behind us.”
Tickets for Ireland’s home games are available via ticketmaster.ie
Ireland: Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo/ IQ Rugby); Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/ Munster), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/ Leinster), Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/ Leinster); Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/ Connacht), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/ Leinster); Laura Feely (Galwegians/ Connacht), Leah Lyons (Harlequins), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/ Munster), Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/ Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/ Connacht), Juliet Short (Railway Union/ Leinster), Claire Molloy (Wasps), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/ Munster) (capt). Replacements: Emma Hooban (St Mary’s College/ Leinster), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/ Leinster) *, Anne Marie O’Hora (Galwegians/ Connacht) *, Anna Caplice (Richmond), Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/ Ulster), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/ Ulster) *, Ellen Murphy (Old Belvedere/ Leinster), Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/ Connacht).
*Denotes Uncapped player
Ireland Women’s 2019 Six Nations fixtures:
Friday February 1st: Ireland v England, Donnybrook, 5.0pm
Friday February 8th: Scotland v Ireland, Scotstoun, 7.35pm
Saturday February 23rd: Italy v Ireland, Parma, 6.30pm
Saturday March 9th: Ireland v France, Donnybrook, 7pm
Sunday March 17th: Wales v Ireland, Cardiff Arms Park, 1.30pm