The Ireland Women’s squad, sponsored by Aon, will play their home matches at Donnybrook this season. They will open their campaign at the Dublin 4 venue when they face Wales on Saturday, February 6. They will also take part in a double header in Twickenham when they play England directly after their male counterparts on Saturday, February 27.
There are a number of players who will be looking to win their first Ireland cap during the Championship. Tralee’s Zoe Grattage and Ciara Griffin are included with Ciara O’Connor of Galwegians and Connacht flanker Grainne Egan, are the uncapped players in the forwards.
There are three uncapped players named among the 12 backs – UL Bohemians and Munster winger Liz Burke, centres Elise O’Byrne White (Old Belvedere/Leinster) and Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University/Ulster).
Niamh Briggs captains the squad which also sees the return of Nora Stapleton, who missed out on the recent warm up game against Wales through injury.
Commenting on the selection ahead of the start of his side’s title defence, Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney said: “We have named a squad full of talent for this year’s championship. There is a nice blend of youth and experience and the vibe in the camp has been very positive over the last few weeks.
“We’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of the girls play and we’ve looked at a number of combinations. The newer members of the squad are doing really well, so we’re looking forward to getting the campaign underway against Wales in Donnybrook and seeing what the girls can do.”
IRFU Director of Women’s Rugby, Anthony Eddy, added: “This is an exciting time for Women’s rugby in Ireland. In November we saw the team play their first ever autumn International against England and they’ve had a number of weekend camps at their base in DCU over the last number of months.
“As well as that, with the move to Donnybrook Stadium this year, we will hopefully see even more supporters come out to watch the women play.
“There will be some new faces involved in this year’s campaign, which is important as we are constantly looking to develop our squad and build our strength in depth going forward.”
Click here for tickets to Ireland’s three home games in Donnybrook.
IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2016 Women’s RBS 6 Nations):
Backs (12) –
Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)
Liz Burke (UL Bohemians/Munster) *
Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster)
Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht)
Aine Donnelly (Cill Dara/Leinster)
Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
Claire McLaughlin (Queen’s University/Ulster) *
Larissa Muldoon (Skewen)
Sene Naoupu (Galwegians/Connacht)
Elise O’Byrne White (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
Jackie Shiels (Richmond/Exile)
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Forwards (18) –
Elaine Anthony (Highfield/Munster)
Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Grainne Egan (St. Mary’s/Connacht) *
Paula Fitzpatrick (Toulouse)
Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
Zoe Grattage (Tralee/Munster) *
Ciara Griffin (Tralee/Munster) *
Claire Molloy (Bristol)
Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
Heather O’Brien (Toulouse)
Fiona O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht) *
Ruth O’Reilly (Galwegians/Connacht)
Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
* Denotes uncapped player
Ireland Women’s Team Management –
Anthony Eddy – Director of Sevens and Women’s Rugby
Tom Tierney – Head Coach
Declan O’Brien – Assistant Coach
Derek Dowling – Scrum Coach
Ross Martin – Video Analyst
Jean Casey – Team Manager
Marian Earls – Strength and Conditioning Co-ordinator
Ed Slattery – Strength and Conditioning Coach
Alan Farrell – Team Doctor
Ulrik McCarthy – Physiotherapist
Dom Hoban – Physiotherapist
Nóra Ní Fhlannagáin – Nutritionist
Carmel O’Dwyer – Squad Co-ordinator
Sam O’Byrne – Media Officer
Ireland Women’s Six Nations Fixtures:
Saturday, February 6 – Ireland v Wales, Donnybrook Stadium, 1pm
Saturday, February 13 – France v Ireland, Stade Aimé Giral, Perpignan, 9pm local time/8pm Irish time
Saturday, February 27 – England v Ireland, Twickenham, 7.15pm
Sunday, March 13 – Ireland v Italy, Donnybrook Stadium, 1pm
Sunday, March 20 – Ireland v Scotland, Donnybrook Stadium, 1pm