Ireland call on fresh faces for Women’s Six Nations opener against Wales

Aoibheann Reilly will start while two other uncapped players are on the bench

Women’s Six Nations: Ireland v Wales

Kick-off: 4.45pm, Saturday. Venue: RDS. On TV: Live on Virgin Media One and BBC Two.

The Blackrock College scrumhalf Aoibheann Reilly will make her debut for Ireland in their opening TikTok Women’s Six Nations game against Wales at the RDS on Saturday after impressing during the All-Ireland League season.

Head Coach Greg McWilliams has named his first Ireland matchday squad and forwards Christy Haney and Anna McGann are also set for their first Test caps off the bench.


There is a blend of experience of young players to kickstart a new era for the Irish Women’s team under McWilliams, with full-back Eimear Considine their most capped (23) player, followed by newly installed captain Nichola Fryday on 22 Tests.

Linda Djougang, Neve Jones and Katie O’Dwyer are named to start in the front row, with Sam Monaghan joining newly-appointed captain Fryday in the second row.

Dorothy Wall has returned from injury having missed last Autumn’s November Series to start at blindside flanker, with Edel McMahon selected at openside and Brittany Hogan at number eight.

Reilly, who has featured on the World Rugby Sevens Series for Ireland, partners Nicole Cronin in the half-backs, with the Limerick native returning to the green jersey to win her 17th Test cap.

There is a new-look centre partnership with Stacey Flood linking up with Eve Higgins in midfield, while Lucy Mulhall, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Eimear Considine make up the back three.

Haney and McGann are among the replacements tasked with making a big impact, with Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse and Hannah O’Connor providing the other reinforcements for McWilliams up front. Kathryn Dane, Enya Breen and Beibhinn Parsons complete the 23.

Commenting on his selection, McWilliams said: “This is a great start for us as a group, we’re really excited about the youth and experience in the team. We’ll learn a lot from this game, but for these players to go out and represent Ireland at the RDS is going to be special. It’ll be a great occasion and I’m excited to see how they perform, because we’ve got through a lot of work over the last couple of weeks.”

Ireland: Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(23); Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC/Munster)(6), Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(6), Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(7), Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC/Leinster)(1); Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(16), Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)*; Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)(17), Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster)(6), Katie O'Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(5); Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht)(22)(Captain), Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(5); Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)(10), Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(14), Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)(7).

Replacements: Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(8), Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(2), Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)*, Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC/Connacht)*, Hannah O'Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(7), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)(18), Enya Breen (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(9), Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)(15).