New and returning faces on the bench as Griggs names Ireland side for England opener

IRELAND WOMEN’S HEAD coach Adam Griggs has named his side to face England in their 2018 Six Nations opener at Donnybrook on Friday evening [KO 5pm].

Ciara Griffin captains the side while there’s a welcome blend of experience and newer faces throughout with Wasps star Claire Molloy joining her in the back row and Harlequins’ Leah Lyons starting at hooker.

Leinster duo Sene Naoupu and Michelle Claffey form the centre partnership, while former Clare dual player and Sevens ace Eimear Considine starts on the wing.

Alison Miller takes her place on the bench after a horrific leg-break in last year’s tournament, and will be hoping to well and truly put that to bed by running onto the field at Energia Park at some stage.

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There are also three uncapped players –  Linda Djougang, Anne Marie O’Hora and Kathryn Dane — among the replacements, hoping to get their first taste of international rugby.

All three featured in Ireland’s five-try warm-up win over Wales, showing encouraging signs with Djougang crossing with a crucial 64th-minute score in the uncapped fixture.

Manager Adam Griggs with captain Ciara Griffin. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“There’s no bigger challenge than to open the Six Nations against England,” Griggs said as he showed his hand this morning, “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.”

Ireland Women XV v England 

15. Lauren Delany (Firwood Waterloo/ IQ Rugby)
14. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/ Munster)
13. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)
12. Michelle Claffey (Blackrock/ Leinster)
11. Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
10. Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht)
9. Alisa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)

1. Laura Feely (Galwegians/Connacht)
2. Leah Lyons (Harlequins)
3. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)
5. Nichola Fryday (Galwegians/ Connacht)
6. Juliet Short (Railway Union/Leinster)
7. Claire Molloy (Wasps)
8. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) — captain


16. Emma Hooban (St Mary’s College/Leinster)
17. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*
18. Anne Marie O’Hora (Galwegians/Connacht)*
19. Anna Caplice (Richmond)
20. Claire McLaughlin (Old Belvedere/Ulster)
21. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)*
22. Ellen Murphy (Olde Belvedere/Leinster)
23. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level

Join us to preview the Six Nations with Simon Zebo, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey on Thursday @7pm in Liberty Hall Theatre Dublin.