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Three home wins the target for Ireland Women in important 2020 Six Nations

After a very poor championship in 2019, Ireland have hopes of a big improvement.

IRELAND WOMEN HEAD coach Adam Griggs says three home wins would mark a successful 2020 Six Nations campaign for his side in a hugely important year.

Ireland’s main priority this year is earning a place at the 2021 World Cup via a qualification tournament in September, where they will face Scotland, Italy and another European team, likely to be Spain.

linda-djougang-celebrates-scoring-a-try-with-teammates Ireland Women are aiming for three home wins. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Griggs’ side are aiming to build vital momentum for that qualifying competition in the upcoming Six Nations, which kicks off with a visit from the Scots to Donnybrook on Sunday 2 February.

With home games against Wales and Italy also on the calendar, as well as daunting trips to England and France, Griggs says making Donnybrook a fortress would be a good championship for Ireland, who lost four of their five games last year to finish fifth.

“Definitely winning those three home games,” said Griggs of what would constitute a successful Six Nations. “We’ve got two at home to start us off so if we can get victory in those, then we roll into England after that and you’re really looking for a performance.

“There’s no doubt that England and France are those front-runners but what you want to do is make it as hard as you can for them. It’s difficult but it’s possible.

“We’re realistic that if we can get those home game wins and then really put in performances through that, we should really be in the top half of the table and we’re certainly focused on doing that.”

Ireland had an agonising defeat to Wales in their only November Test last year, surrendering a winning position in the dying moments after what had been an encouraging performance.

adam-griggs-and-ciara-griffin Griggs and Ireland captain Ciara Griffin at the Six Nations launch in London yesterday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Griggs’ side were in Wales last weekend for a training camp, concluding with a training game against the Welsh that Ireland won 22-12.

With another training camp to come this weekend ahead of the Six Nations, Griggs is upbeat about where Ireland stand heading into the championship.

“I reckon if we look at the squad since I’ve been involved, it’s probably the most competitive it’s been for places,” said the Ireland head coach, who has been with the team since November 2017.

“There’s a nice balance of girls who have been there for the last couple of years with me and then some fresh faces coming through as well. So it’s certainly a competitive environment at the moment and we’ve just got to make sure we equate that to some results.”

Griggs is hopeful some relatively new faces can shine in the Six Nations, picking out Munster centre Enya Breen as one to watch.

“There’s certainly a couple of players putting their hands up at the moment and a couple of the younger ones,” said Griggs.

enya-breen-scores-a-try Centre Enya Breen impressed against Wales in November. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“I’d have to name-check Enya Breen, who had a really good game in November and she’s grown into a fine player. She’s someone that’s come through the underage system and that pathway.

“With those younger players, you’re starting to see them have a really good game understanding and, along with their athletic ability, once they start understanding the game a little bit more, that’s where we’ll get the benefit.

“Dorothy Wall, she’s obviously involved in the 7s as well but she’s certainly in our squad and she played on the weekend. She’s going to be a fine prospect as well so it’s exciting.”

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Murray Kinsella

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