Lucy Mulhall to start for Ireland in World Cup qualifier against Spain

Adam Griggs has stuck with tried and trusted ahead of qualifying tournament in Italy

Lucy Mulhall during Ireland training. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Lucy Mulhall during Ireland training. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifier: Ireland v Spain

Kick-off: 5pm, Monday. Venue: Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi

Ireland Women’s Sevens captain Lucy Mulhall will make her full international debut on Monday when she starts in the opening World Cup qualifier against Spain.

Mulhall has been named at outside centre by head coach Adam Griggs in the only change to the team that beat Italy in the Six Nations last April.

Ciara Griffin will captain Ireland while Sene Naoupu joins Mulhall in midfield. Having scored twice in the win over Italy at last time out, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe is named in an exciting Ireland back three alongside Eimear Considine and Beibhinn Parsons, while Kathryn Dane and Stacey Flood continue their half-back partnership.

There is a familiar look to the Ireland pack with Lindsay Peat, Clíodhna Moloney and Linda Djougang providing plenty of experience in the front row, and Aoife McDermott and Nichola Fryday are selected in the second row together for the fourth consecutive game.

Griffin is joined in a dynamic back row by Dorothy Wall at blindside flanker and Brittany Hogan at number eight, with the fit-again Edel McMahon named among the replacements having missed the Six Nations through injury.

“We have been building towards this tournament for a number of months now, and the players have put in a huge volume of work to get to this point. The 23 selected have the honour of representing the wider group as we set out to achieve our goal of Rugby World Cup Qualification,” said Griggs.

“Spain first up will provide a stern test and the group are fully focused on starting our campaign on the front foot. We are confident the combinations and cohesion built up through the Women’s Six Nations will stand us in good stead for the challenges ahead, and we’re now excited to get up and running on Monday evening.”

Ireland play Italy on September 19th and Scotland on September 25th with only the group winners qualifying automatically for the tournament in New Zealand next year while second place will get another chance in the repechage.

Ireland: Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/Munster); Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster), Lucy Mulhall (Rathdrum/Leinster), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Blackrock College/Connacht); Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster); Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/Connacht); Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster), Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemian/Munster) (captain), Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/Ulster).

Replacements: Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster), Laura Feely (Blackrock College/Connacht), Leah Lyons (Sale/IQ Rugby), Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby), Emily Lane (Blackrock College/Munster), Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/Munster), Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby).

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