12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Both Sarahjane Belton, the team captain, and Rachel Boyd will hit the 50-cap mark when they line out for Ireland against Australia at the IRB Women's World Cup tonight.
The winners of that game will finish the tournament in seventh place while the losers will finish in eighth overall. Either way Ireland's initial seeding of tenth will have been improved upon.
Both full-back-cum-out-half Belton and flanker Boyd made their Irish debuts together against France in 2000 in the European Championships, and both have been ever-presents in the green jersey since then.
Belton was made captain two seasons ago and the Wicklow native plays her club rugby with UL Bohemians.
She said: "To be honest I am not really thinking about the achievement (of 50 caps) because we are fully focused on going out and beating Australia tonight. The tournament has been a good experience overall and there have been some excellent positives with girls getting a lot of tough experience under their belts that will help us going forward."
She explained that while there was huge disappointment in the 11-10 loss to Scotland, Ireland were now well prepared to face Australia, who are sharing the same team hotel as them in Edmonton.
"We haven't seen a lot of them on the pitch but our management has watched them and have worked our game plan for us to try and overcome the Aussies."
Looking back at her half century of caps, she says the highlight was beating Wales in 2005 to qualify for the World Cup.
"That was a fantastic win for us in Cardiff and it's definitely a special moment I will remember," Belton added.
"A low point from the 50 caps is probably my first outing against England when we lost 79-0. It was awful in one way but in another it was the best thing for us to see the standard we needed to be at."
Belton, whose parents Moya and Richard and her younger brother Bobby were in Canada for the first three pool games, is moving to Dublin when she returns to take up a lecturing position at St. Patrick's College in Drumcondra.
Ulster flanker Rachel Boyd started her Irish career on the wing and has also been capped in midfield for Ireland. Now however, she plays almost all of her Test games in the back row. She plays her club rugby with Cooke and is a physiotherapist.
A strong and dynamic player, Boyd has played in all of Ireland's games at the 2006 World Cup.