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McWilliams Announces Ireland Team To Play France In Cork

McWilliams Announces Ireland Team To Play France In Cork

Ireland continue their TikTok Women's Six Nations campaign in Cork this Saturday ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Head coach Greg McWilliams has named his Ireland team, sponsored by Aon, for Saturday’s TikTok Women’s Six Nations clash with France at Musgrave Park (kick-off 3.15pm – live on Virgin Media One/BBC 2 Northern Ireland/BBC iPlayer).

McWilliams has made five changes to the starting XV for the visit of France to Cork, while there are two uncapped players included on the replacements bench.

Vicky Irwin and Dannah O’Brien are selected to start in the Ireland back-line, with Christy Haney, Grace Moore and Deirbhile Nic a Bháird all brought into the pack.

Clara Nielson and Kathryn Buggy come into the matchday squad and are in line to make their Ireland debuts off the bench.

The Ireland back-three remains unchanged with Méabh Deely continuing at full-back and Aoife Doyle and Natasja Behan named on the wings. With Enya Breen ruled out of the remainder of the Championship through injury, Armagh native Irwin comes into the midfield to partner Aoife Dalton.

Talented Tullow teenager O’Brien (19) is promoted off the bench to make her first Six Nations start at out-half. Her Leinster team-mate Molly Scuffil-McCabe is retained at scrum half.

Up front, Linda Djougang switches to loosehead prop to pack down alongside Neve Jones and Haney. Captain Nichola Fryday and Sam Monaghan make up the second row pairing, with Dorothy Wall joined in the back row by Moore at openside flanker and Nic a Bháird at number 8.

The reserve forwards are uncapped duo Nielson and Buggy, Sadhbh McGrath, Hannah O’Connor and Brittany Hogan, while Nicole Cronin, Anna McGann, who is set for her first 15s appearance since last year’s Six Nations, and Lauren Delany provide the back-line reinforcements.

Commenting ahead of the game, McWilliams said: “Last week was a disappointing start to the campaign for us but we turned the page quickly and were honest with ourselves.

“We know this journey is going to take time and require patience, and we are working hard as a group to learn those lessons and make positive progress every time we step on the field.

Saturday is another opportunity for us to do that and returning to Musgrave Park is an exciting prospect for us all.

“The support of our home crowd, family and friends is so important to us, and with the backing of the Irish people, we can make strides in the right direction.”

Saturday’s match is live on Virgin Media One, BBC 2 Northern Ireland, BBC iPlayer and RTÉ Radio 1, with live updates across the Irish Rugby Twitter and Instagram channels. Tickets are available to purchase via Ticketmaster.ie here.

IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v France Women, 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations, Musgrave Park, Saturday, April 1, kick-off 3.15pm):

Player/Club/Province/Caps –

15. Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht) 3
14. Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster) 13
13. Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 3
12. Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/Ulster) 2
11. Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 3
10. Dannah O’Brien (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 3
9. Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster) 5
1. Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) 25
2. Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster) 14
3. Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 6
4. Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht) (capt) 30
5. Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby) 11
6. Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster) 17
7. Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby) 6
8. Deirbhile Nic a Bháird (Old Belvedere RFC/Munster) 5


16. Clara Nielson (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby) *
17. Sadhbh McGrath (City of Derry RFC/Cooke RFC/Ulster) 1
18. Kathryn Buggy (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby) *
19. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) 15
20. Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster) 11
21. Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster) 22
22. Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC/Connacht) 2
23. Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby) 18

* Denotes uncapped player