Thursday, February 01, 2018

Ireland’s Niamh Briggs evades the tackle from Jade Knight of Wales during their recent friendly at Caerphilly, Wales. Photo: Inpho.

After a terrible year of injuries, which saw her miss the chance to captain her country at a home World Cup last Autumn, Waterford’s Niamh Briggs is back in the Irish Women’s Rugby team for their opening match of the 2018 Women’s Six Nations against France at Toulouse’s Stade Ernest Wallon on Saturday night (kick-off 9pm local time/8pm Irish time).

The Abbeyside star will pull on the number 10 jersey on this occasion after impressing in the recent warm up game against Wales in that position.

Head Coach, Adam Griggs has included one new cap in the starting XV with Megan Williams, capped previously at Sevens, set for her debut following a good showing in the warm up match against Wales earlier this month.

Williams is named in the back three alongside Kim Flood, at fullback, and the hugely experience Alison Miller on the opposite wing.

Claire McLaughlin and Sene Naoupu make up the centre partnership.

In the pack Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney and Fiona Reidy make up the front row with Ciara Cooney and Orla Fitzsimons named in the second row.

Ciara Griffin, who has taken over from Niamh as captain for this campaign, starts at Number 8 with Claire Molloy and Anna Caplice on the flanks.

Speaking ahead of the clash, Griggs said, “The opening game of this tournament is always going to be a challenge and France in front of their home crowd is immense.

However, the squad have had good preparation over the last 2 weeks and are excited and focused on the challenge at hand to start our campaign off with a positive performance.”

Ireland play Italy the following week in the first of three home games in Donnybrook and tickets are available now via ticketmaster.ie

The IRFU is offering a bus subsidy of up to €400 euro per club for private transport hire. For more information on the bus subsidy for the 2018 Women’s Six Nations, contact [email protected] before purchasing tickets.

IRELAND WOMEN’S Team & Replacements (v France Women, 2018 Womens Six Nations Championship, Stade Ernest Wallon, Toulouse, Saturday, February 3, kick-off 9pm local time/8pm Irish time):

15. Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
14. Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster) *
13. Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht)
10. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)
1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
3. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster)
4. Ciara Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster)
5. Orla Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster)
6. Anna Caplice (UL Bohemians/ Munster)
7. Claire Molloy (Bristol/Connacht)
8. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster) (capt)

Replacements:

16. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
17. Laura Feely (Galweigians/Connacht) *
18. Ciara O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht)
19. Nichola Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht)
20. Paula Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s/Leinster)
21. Mary Healy (Galwegians/Connacht)
22. Nikki Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster)
23. Mairead Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht)

* Denotes uncapped player at this level

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