Ireland’s Women’s team will light up the 2008 Six Nations when they play all their home games on Friday nights at Templeville Road.
Ireland coach John O’Sullivan, who will name his squad next week, hopes that the move to Friday nights will be beneficial. He said: “For a lot of reasons moving the Women’s games to Friday nights will be a positive thing. The girls will have to take more time off work for sure, which is hard, but it gets us into a routine.
“It also means they get to go to see the Men’s games and we have a better shot at getting a good crowd. St. Mary’s is a good venue for games under lights.”
The squad will also undertake a one week warm-weather training camp in Spain in December this year as part of their build up to the competition. This is the first time that the Women’s squad have taken part in this type of training camp.
The best players in the country face an anxious weekend as they wait on the announcement of the 35-strong Irish training squad, which will be announced on Monday.
The announcement of the squad has been delayed by a week as coach O’Sullivan is keen for players to get in another round of All-Ireland League games which will be held this Sunday. He will be in Dublin to watch the much anticipated Blackrock v Highfield game, where a number of current and potential Irish players will be on show.
Following the recent Interprovincial campaign , which saw Munster defend their crown, we should also see a number of new faces in the Irish squad. The competitiveness of the final games of this year’s competition, which both came down to just one score, highlighted the difficulties there will be in deciding between players for certain positions.
In the back row and at centre there are a number of options for the head coach but there are places up for grabs elsewhere. The Cobh-based O’Sullivan was satisfied with the standards that were on show over the course of the provincial series as he attended every game and a number of training sessions.
“I was happy with the progression of the players. There were notable improvements in some well-known players and there were also a lot of newer players putting their hands up,” he admitted.
I’m going to see a game in Dublin this weekend because there are a number of tight decisions to be made that I haven’t made my mind up on yet. We’ll take 35 players on board for two sessions in November and whittle that down to 26 before we go to Spain.”
It will be O’Sullivan’s second Six Nations tournament with Ireland but this year’s build-up has no comparison with that of twelve months ago.
“I was appointed Irish coach last year in November with just one Interpro game to play so I didn’t get much preparation time. We didn’t have the November sessions which we do now so that will make a huge difference I feel.
“A week in Spain with the squad, where we hope to play two games, will be another boost and we have three home games this year against Italy, Wales and Scotland which will benefit us, as opposed to a lot of travelling,” O’Sullivan added.
In terms of preparation, O’Sullivan is also pleased with how events are being organised. “Things have also changed for us in an organisation capacity with the IRFU coming on board and taking over planning issues such as hotel bookings and flight details and that really makes a massive difference to our preparation.”