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Belvo wing Megan Williams set for Ireland debut against France

The 7s international will win her first cap for Ireland in 15s.

IRELAND WOMEN HEAD coach Adam Griggs has named the uncapped Megan Williams on the right wing for Saturday’s Six Nations opener against France in Toulouse [KO 8pm Irish time, RTÉ 2].

Megan Williams 21/1/2018 Williams scored against Wales in Ireland's Six Nations warm-up fixture. Source: CameraSport/Ashley Crowden/INPHO

The Old Belvedere woman has already played international rugby for Ireland in the sevens code but will now make her 15s debut after impressing with a try-scoring performance in the recent friendly win over Wales.

Replacement loosehead prop Laura Feely of Galwegians is the only other uncapped player in Griggs’ 23-woman squad, but there is something of a fresh feel to this Ireland side.

Niamh Briggs, previously first-choice at fullback, has put her injury issues behind her to move into the out-half slot, forming a halfback partnership with Leinster’s Ailsa Hughes.

Captain Ciara Griffin will line out at number eight in a back row that also includes Anna Caplice and Claire Molloy, while Orla Fitzsimons and Ciara Cooney are selected in the second row.

Railway Union players Cliodhna Moloney and Lindsay Peat are joined by UL Bohemians tighthead Fiona Reidy in the front row.

There is some experience outside Briggs in the backline, with Sene Naoupu and prolific wing Alison Miller linking up with Kim Flood, Claire McLaughlin and new cap Williams.

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

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

Ireland Women v France:

15. Kim Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)
14. Megan Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
13. Claire McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster)
12. Sene Naoupu (Railway Union/Leinster)
11. Alison Miller (Portlaoise/Connacht)
10. Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemian/Munster)
9. Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)

1. Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)
2. Cliodhna Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster)
3. Fiona Reidy (UL Bohemian/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 (Tralee/Munster) (captain)

Replacements:

16. Leah Lyons (Highfield/Munster)
17. Laura Feely (Galwegians/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)

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