Griggs shuffles his pack as Ireland look for big response at Donnybrook

The women’s head coach has made five changes for Saturday evening’s clash against France.

ADAM GRIGGS HAS made four alterations to his pack for Saturday’s visit of France to Donnybrook in the Women’s Six Nations [KO 7pm, RTÉ 2], as Ireland seek a much-needed home victory.

Defeat to Italy last time out has put Ireland on the back foot again heading into the penultimate round of championship action, and a much-improved showing is required this weekend.

Adam Griggs before the game Ireland head coach Adam Griggs. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Four of Griggs’ five changes to his starting XV come up front, while Michelle Claffey drops out of the backline due to injury and is replaced by the uncapped Enya Breen in midfield.

One of the areas of improvement identified by Griggs is Ireland’s physicality, and his decision to shuffle his pack is a reflection of this, although one of those changes is enforced due to Leah Lyons’ shoulder issue. 

Lyons is replaced in the front row by Fiona Reidy with Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird in for Emma Hooban at hooker, Aoife McDermott dropping out at the expense of Juliet Short and Claire McLaughlin taking the final back row berth ahead of Anna Caplice.

McLaughlin’s inclusion at number eight has forced a slight reshuffle with captain Ciara Griffin reverting to blindside and Claire Molloy continuing in the number seven jersey. 

“We have a big fortnight ahead of us with two tough matches to finish this competition off,” Griggs said.

“We’ve put a lot of work in since Italy to rectify some of the areas that we felt let us down and cost us that result.

“We need to be clinical when we get into good areas of the field and put teams under pressure with our physicality and strong defence to make teams work harder for their points.

“There have been a lot of positives in each game we’ve played and we must keep building on them along with our work ons to put together a more comprehensive performance.”

Claire McLaughlin Claire McLaughlin starts in the Ireland back row. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

After their heavy opening weekend loss to England in Dublin, Ireland responded with an away victory over Scotland but that 29-27 defeat in Parma last time out has set them back ahead of the final two rounds of action. 

Defending champions France arrive in third place after winning two of their first three outings, and will be targeting a big win at Donnybrook to keep their championship hopes alive heading into the final weekend.

Griggs added: “France is no mean feat and we know they are coming to Dublin to try and get a result. They are the current champions for a reason and are coming here on the back of two good wins, but we know if we can get our detail right we can put them under pressure and make them have to rethink the way they approach this game.”

Ireland women:

15. Lauren Delaney
14. Eimear Considine
13. Enya Breen
12. Sene Naoupu
11. Alison Miller
10. Nicole Fowley
9. Kathryn Dane 

1. Laura Feely
2. Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird
3. Fiona Reidy
4. Nichola Frydat
5. Juliet Short
6. Ciara Griffin (captain)
7. Claire Molloy
8. Claire McLaughlin


16. Emma Hooban
17. Lindsay Peat
18. Linda Djougang
19. Anna Caplice
20. Claire Boles
21. Nicole Cronin
22. Ellen Murphy
23. Megan Williams.

Andy Dunne joins Murray Kinsella and Ryan Bailey to discuss Joe Schmidt’s undroppables and how France might attack Ireland’s predictability in The42 Rugby Weekly.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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