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Nine uncapped players as Greg McWilliams announces first Six Nations squad

Cliodhna Moloney and Sene Naopu are among the notable absentees, while the head coach will name his captain closer to the tournament.

Ireland celebrating a try during their third-placed play-off in last year's Six Nations.
Ireland celebrating a try during their third-placed play-off in last year's Six Nations.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND HEAD COACH Greg McWilliams has named a 38-player squad for the TikTok Women’s Six Nations as Ireland gear up for their championship opener against Wales at the RDS on Saturday, 26 March (Kick-off 4.45pm, tickets available here).

McWilliams’ first squad selection follows an initial screening camp and last weekend’s Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Finals Day. It includes nine uncapped players, eight of whom have recently caught the coach’s eye in domestic rugby and one of whom plies her trade with Sale Sharks in England.

Forwards Christy Haney (Blackrock College/Leinster), Amanda McQuade (Railway Union/Ulster), Anna McGann (Railway Union/Ulster), Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College/Leinster), Emma Murphy (Railway Union/Leinster) and backs Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College/Connacht), Natasja Behan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union/Leinster) and Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby) are the potential new caps in a youthful squad, while Eimear Considine is the most capped player with 23 international appearances to her name.

Notable absentees include Cliodhna Moloney, Sene Naopu and Anna Caplice, while McWilliams will name his captain in place of the retired Ciara Griffin in the coming weeks.

greg-mcwilliams-attends-the-game Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams in attendance at the Women's AIL Division 1 final at Donnybrook. Source: Ben Brady/INPHO

“I am really pleased with the balance of the squad, there is great youth and experience and I have been impressed by the form of these players in recent weeks,” said the head coach, who has been personally observing Women’s AIL games in recent weeks.

We have selected players that have the ability to go for long periods of high-intensity ball in play and have a positive impact on the game. Like every selection, there is some talent missing out, and I will be keeping an eye on these and other players as we look to increase competition within the wider playing pool.

“There is great talent within the group and this is a great opportunity for us to develop its foundations and learn about what’s needed to compete at the highest level going forward.

“For now, we are just excited to start, to put the head down and work hard. We are relishing the prospect of running out in front of our home supporters at The RDS for the first game of the championship.”

Ireland open their campaign against Wales before travelling to France in Round 2 on Saturday, 2 April.

McWilliams’ side will play their second home game against Italy at Musgrave Park on Sunday, 10 April (Kick-off 5pm).

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They travel to champions England on Sunday, 24 April before hosting Scotland at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on Saturday, 30 April (Kick-off 8pm).

Ireland squad for TikTok Women’s Six Nations

Forwards:

  • Amanda McQuade (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)*
  • Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(5)
  • Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(2)
  • Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)(17)
  • Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)*
  • Claire Boles (Railway Union RFC/Ulster)(3)
  • Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(8)
  • Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster)(6)
  • Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht)(22)
  • Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(5)
  • Aoife McDermott (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(18)
  • Anna McGann (Railway Union RFC/Connacht)*
  • Grace Moore (Railway Union RFC/IQ Rugby)(1)
  • Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)(10)
  • Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)*
  • Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)(7)
  • Emma Murphy (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)*
  • Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(14)
  • Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)(1)
  • Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(7)

Backs:

  • Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)*
  • Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)(18)
  • Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(13)
  • Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(16)
  • Nikki Caughey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(13)
  • Enya Breen (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(9)
  • Stacey Flood (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(7)
  • Michelle Claffey (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(12)
  • Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(6)
  • Lucy Mulhall (Wicklow RFC/Leinster)(1)
  • Beibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)(15)
  • Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union RFC/Munster)(6)
  • Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster)(7)
  • Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)*
  • Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)(18)
  • Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)(23)
  • Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)*
  • Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)*

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Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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