Nine uncapped players included in Ireland Women’s squad for Six Nations

Griggs selects 38 players from 10 clubs as coach looks to put poor World Cup behind him

Ireland’s Sophie Spence was not included in the squad as the player announced her retirement on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland’s Sophie Spence was not included in the squad as the player announced her retirement on Friday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Following a disappointing Rugby World Cup in Ireland during the summer, Ireland Women’s coach Adam Griggs has named 38 players from 10 clubs in his squad for the 2018 Six Nations Championship. He has included nine uncapped players.

Nine of the squad will not be available to play against France in the opening match of the championship as they are also part of the Women’s 7s programme.

With the Sydney 7s taking place on January 27th and 28th, players selected for that tournament will not be available to play against the French in Toulouse on February 3rd.

The Ireland captain will be named in the new year following completion of scheduled training camps. Niamh Briggs who led Ireland to the Six Nations title in 2015 and who was ruled out of the World Cup because of injury is included in the squad. Claire Molloy, who captained Ireland in the World Cup is also named among the forwards.

Apart from the opening match at the Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse, Ireland will have three home games in Donnybrook Stadium against Italy on February 11th, Wales on February 25th and Scotland on March 11th.

Challenging games

Ireland will finish their Championship away to England on March 16th in what will be a double header in the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, with the Ireland U20s meeting their English counterparts after the women’s game. Ireland will also travel to face Wales in an uncapped warm-up fixture in January.

“Over the course of the interprovincial fixtures I’ve had the opportunity to see the players in competitive and challenging games,” said Griggs. “There is good experience in the squad, with most of the players selected competing at this level for a number of seasons.

“I’m looking forward to getting the campaign under way in what is set to be a tough opening game in the south of France.”

One name not included in the squad is Sophie Spence. The forward who was an integral part of Ireland’s most successful women’s rugby team, helping them to win two Six Nations tournaments, announced her retirement on Friday.

As well as being part of the side that recorded a historic win over New Zealand in the 2014 Rugby World Cup, she was a nominee for the World Rugby player of the year in 2015.

Ireland Women’s Six Nations Squad 2018 Forwards: Elaine Anthony (Munster), Ashleigh Baxter (Ulster), Anna Caplice (Munster), Ciara Cooney (Leinster), Laura Feely (Connacht)*, Paula Fitzpatrick (Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (Leinster), Nichola Fryday (Connacht), Ciara Griffin (Munster), Leah Lyons (Munster), Aoife McDermott (Leinster)*, Edel McMahon Connacht)*, Claire Molloy (Bristol), Cliodhna Moloney (Leinster), Ciara O’Connor (Connacht), Chloe Pearse (Munster), Lindsay Peat (Leinster), Fiona Reidy (Munster)

Backs: Niamh Briggs (Munster), Nikki Caughey (Ulster), Michelle Claffey (Leinster)*, Mairead Coyne (Connacht), Nicole Cronin (Munster), Jeamie Deacon (Leinster), Katie Fitzhenry (Leinster), Kim Flood (Leinster), Louise Galvin (Munster), Mary Healy (Connacht), Katie Heffernan (Leinster)*, Eve Higgins (Leinster)*, Ailsa Hughes (Leinster), Claire McLaughlin (Ulster), Alison Miller (Connacht), Sene Naoupu (Leinster), Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird ( Munster)*, Hannah Tyrrell (Leinster), Susan Vaughan (Leinster)*, Megan Williams (Leinster)

* denotes uncapped player

Ireland Women’s Six Nations Fixtures 2018

Saturday, 3rd February, 2018: France v Ireland, 8pm (Irish time), Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse

Sunday, 11th February, 2018: Ireland v Italy, 1pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin

Sunday, 25th February, 2018: Ireland v Wales, 3pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin

Sunday, 11th March, 2018: Ireland v Scotland, 1pm, Donnybrook Stadium, Dublin

Friday, 16th March, 2016: England v Ireland, 5.30pm, Ricoh Arena, Coventry

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