Niamh Briggs to start at outhalf against France

New coach Adam Griggs hands debut to winger Megan Williams

Niamh Briggs is back at outhalf for Ireland for the opening Six Nations game away to France on Saturday night. Photograph: Ashley Crowden/Inpho/Camera Sport

Niamh Briggs will start her first Six Nations game in two years when Ireland open their campaign against France in Toulouse on Saturday night (8pm Irish time).

The 33-year-old outhalf has struggled with injury over the last 16 months but made her return to the international side in November and is named in the Number 10 shirt by new Ireland coach Adam Griggs.

The side to face France includes one new cap in Ireland Sevens player Megan Williams on the right wing. The uncapped prop Laura Feely is named among the replacements.

Speaking ahead of the clash, Griggs said, “The opening game of this tournament is always going to be a challenge and France in front of their home crowd is immense.


“However, the squad have had good preparation over the last two weeks and are excited and focused on the challenge at hand to start our campaign off with a positive performance.”

IRELAND WOMEN (v France Women; Saturday, Stade Ernst Wallon, Toulouse, 9pm local time; 8pm Irish): Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster); Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*; Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster), Sene Naoupu (Railway Union/Leinster); Alison Miller (Portloaise /Connacht); Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemian/Munster), Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemian/Munster), Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (St Mary's/Leinster); Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/Munster), Claire Molloy (Bristol /Connacht), Ciara Griffin (Tralee/Munster) Capt.

Replacements: Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster), Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht)*, Ciara O'Connor (Galwegians/Connacht), Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/ Connacht), Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary's/Leinster), Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht), Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster), Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht).

*uncapped player