4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
Declan Kidney's men have four more matches over the coming weeks, including Tests against France and England. Game-time is vital for the players with the tournament now less than 30 days away.
Their run of warm-up fixtures continues at Stade Chaban Delmas tonight where they meet a strong-looking French side.
Ireland have played at the Bordeaux venue in recent years, posting victories over Namibia and Georgia there during the pool stages of the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The Irish management will test out a number of combinations, including the half-back duo of Ronan O'Gara and Eoin Reddan.
O'Gara was on the pitch for Ireland's last away win over France, when Brian O'Driscoll scored his hat-trick of tries back in 2000.
Scrum half Conor Murray is the only international newcomer in Ireland's 22-man squad. The Munster youngster is standing by to make his Test debut at the age of 22.
There are nine changes in all, including Donnacha Ryan's switch into the back row, to the team that lost 10-6 to Scotland last weekend.
The replacements bench has also been bolstered by the addition of frontline forwards Paul O'Connell and Jamie Heaslip.
Looking for his 20th win in 31 Test matches with Ireland, head coach Kidney said: "We've been concentrating 99% on ourselves going into this game, but we know France will be a powerhouse at the World Cup.
"It's because of that that they will be a good test for us. It will be interesting to see how we get on. In France they could pick three or four teams of similar quality. That's the strength of French rugby.
"Playing a French team in the south of France is as tough as it comes. It can make a difference playing down there - it will be lively but we must look forward to the noise.
"When you're younger you can be overawed by it, but it's important not to lose your voice and get on with your job."
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There will be full live text and score updates throughout the coverage as Ireland look to build momentum towards the World Cup in New Zealand.
We also provide links to the radio commentary from RTÉ Radio 1 and BBC Radio Ulster MW. There is live TV coverage on RTÉ Two Television and www.rte.ie/live (island of Ireland only).
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