Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has named his match day 23 squad as Ireland prepare for their first Six Nations match of the year.
Having been postponed last February the tournament kicked off at the weekend, with Ireland set to get their campaign underway this Saturday Vs Wales at 5pm.
A condensed new format introduced this year as a result of Covid-19 includes two pools of three teams and so Ireland were scheduled a rest as France beat Wales 53-0 last week.
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Seven’s rugby star Eve Higgins is to earn her first cap as she starts at centre alongside the skillful Sene Naoupu, while Eimear Considine is to battle Wales in the Ireland full back line, playing her first game since February 2020.
“I know it’s not the same and we won’t have fans there and we want spectators at our games, but I think everyone is just dying for a little bit of live sport at the moment and getting back on the field after such a long period of time will be great” Considine told Her Sport.
Linda Djougang is to play for her 10th time in the Ireland shirt alongside an unchanged front row in Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney, while Hannah Tyrrell lays claim to the No.10 spot.
Uncapped Emily Lane and Stacey Flood are to be on call as replacements on the bench and Beibhinn Parsons and Lauren Delany are expected to be dangerous for the Girls in Green on the wings.
Parsons as a HerSport ambassador was “chomping at the bit” for the Six Nations be back last February and that the intensity in the training camps has allowed for some extensive contention for places in recent months.
“It feels like a lifetime ago since I’ve put on the green jersey, some boots and a gumshield and gone on to play against an opposition that aren’t my own team-mates” she says.
“There’s a huge competition within the squad. People are really putting their hands up for jerseys.”
The most experienced player on the pitch (70 appearances) Claire Molloy who starts at openside flanker offered her advice to new caps in an interview with HerSport too recently, citing the most important thing as to “just enjoy it. You only get one of them!”
Overall, there are three changes to the side that was victorious against Italy in October, with 189 days elapsed since then.
Echoing the competition that had been coming out of camp recently Adam Griggs remarked how he and his team are “confident in the squad [they] have selected”.
“We have had a great deal of time to prepare together and this group of players have earned the responsibility to bring the high standards we have set ourselves throughout training into this first game.”
In no disillusionment Griggs is sure that Wales are to “bring a strong challenge” and that his side needs to “start the game well and build a platform that allows us to play our game and start this competition off with a win.”
Captain Ciara Griffin is to lead the line for Ireland in Cardiff on Saturday at 5pm and the game is to be broadcast on RTE and the RTE player.