Ireland will host Wales in the Women’s Six Nations on Saturday and the team will be hoping to get their 2022 off to a perfect start.
The Irish failed to qualify for the World Cup last year and, after former director Anthony Eddy said it was not the IRFU’s fault, reviews were triggered into the event.
The governing body have sine apologised to players and Eddy is no longer at the organisation. There’s also been a change of head coach with Greg McWilliams taking charge of his first Women’s Six Nations.
The coach is clear with what he wants to achieve and said: “We have to develop our pillars. That’s what will stand to us as a team; around your unstructured and structured play, around your defensive policies, around your transitions and your scoring zone actions.
“We have to invest in our process, we have to be very clear what that’s going to look like.”
But who has been selected and how can fans watch? Here’s all you need to know.
When is it?
The match will kick-off at 4.45pm on Saturday 26 March at the RDS Arena.
How can I watch
The fixture will be available to watch on BBC Two Northern Ireland and fans can also stream the game on BBC iPlaye
The biggest shock in the Ireland line-up is that star winger Beibihinn Parsons has been left on the bench with Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Lucy Mulhall favoured. Scrum-half Aoibheann Reilly will make her debut and in the forwards new captain Nichola Fryday starts at lock. Christy Haney and Anna McGann could also win their first caps from the bench.
Meanwhile, for Wales, they have experienced players lining up for them. Captain Siwan Lillicrap starts at no.8 with Alisha Butchers and Alex Callender making up the back row. In the backs, Jasmine Joyce starts on the wing with Hannah Jones and Kerin Lake the centre partnership. And from the bench Sioned Harries could make her first appearance since 2019.
Ireland: Eimear Considine; Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall; Nicole Cronin, Aoibheann Reilly; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Katie O’Dwyer, Nichola Fryday, Sam Monaghan, Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon, Brittany Hogan.
Replacements: Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse, Christy Haney, Anna McGann, Hannah O’Connor, Kathryn Dane, Enya Breen, Beibhinn Parsons.
Wales: Kayleigh Powell; Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Jasmine Joyce; Elinor Snowsill, Keira Bevan; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Cerys Hale, Natalia John, Gwen Crabb, Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Siwan Lillicrap (captain).
Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Cara Hope, Donna Rose, Sioned Harries, Bethan Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Robyn Wilkins, Sisilla Tuipulotu.
While many may favour Ireland in this fixture, it will be a lot closer than many think with the morale in both camps shifted from last year. Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup and conversely 12 Wales players are now professional. Ireland may still get the win but it won’t be as easy as they may think. Ireland 20-15 Wales.