Ireland captain Nichola Fryday and head coach Greg McWilliams. Ben Brady/INPHO
Squad News

8 uncapped players included in 32-strong Ireland squad for Women's Six Nations

Greg McWilliams’ team kick-off their campaign away to Wales on 25 March.

IRELAND HEAD COACH Greg McWilliams has included eight uncapped players in a 32-strong squad for the Women’s Six Nations.

Nichola Fryday continues as captain and McWilliams has also named an additional 12 players in a wider training panel for a two-day training camp at the IRFU’s high performance centre this week.

Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Stacey Flood, Eve Higgins, Lucy Mulhall and Beibhinn Parsons are some of the notable absentees due to their involvement with the Women’s Sevens team. 

Those players are unlikely to feature as the Ireland Women’s Sevens – who head to Vancouver this weekend – are competing in Hong Kong (31 March-2 April) and Singapore (8-9 April) during the championship, before the final World Series event in Toulouse in May, as they look to seal Olympic qualification.

Ireland open their Six Nations campaign with a trip to Wales on 25 March and finish away to Scotland on 29 April. 

Forwards Niamh O’Dowd, Sadhbh McGrath, Fiona Tuite and Molly Boyne all earn their first call ups after impressing for the Combined Provinces during their recent unbeaten Celtic Challenge campaign.

Uncapped IQ Rugby duo Kathryn Buggy and Clara Neilson are also included.

Harlequins scrum-half Emma Swords and the versatile Ella Roberts are the two uncapped backs in the squad.

“There is a great sense of anticipation and excitement leading into the Six Nations,” said McWilliams.

“We are very excited about the group of players who will represent Ireland in the upcoming Championship and certainly the Celtic Challenge preparation has been vital for our development.

“We have identified players who are ready for international rugby and we have had the opportunity to work with those players over the last five weeks, with that contact time incredibly valuable as we build the depth and strength of the group. There is an exciting blend of youth and experience and these players are fit for Test rugby.

We will work exceptionally hard over the coming weeks in preparation for the opening weekend and while we are aware of the challenges ahead of us, we are excited to get to task.”

McWilliams has also confirmed Niamh Briggs (backs coach), Denis Fogarty (scrum coach) and John McKee (senior coach) will all continue in their roles for the championship.

Captain Nichola Fryday added: “We’re really excited to get the Six Nations underway, as it will be our first campaign together as a group since the Tour of Japan, which provided us with an invaluable platform to build together as a squad moving forward.

“The Celtic Challenge has granted so many players access to quality game time in recent weeks, and this coupled with the game time the UK-based players have had in the Premiership in recent months, will serve us well moving into the opening rounds of the Six Nations.

“It is always an exciting time of year and we’re hugely motivated as a group to build on the positive aspects of last season and continue to grow and evolve under Greg and the coaching team.

“It is brilliant to see eight uncapped players come into the group, as we are always striving to build squad depth and the value of the Women’s Interprovincial Championship and Celtic Challenge is there for all to see.

“We are really looking forward to returning to Cork for two huge home matches, as the support we received at Musgrave Park last year was incredible.”

Ireland Six Nations fixtures:

Wales v Ireland, Saturday 25 March, Cardiff Arms Park, 2.15pm

Ireland v France, Saturday 1 April, Musgrave Park, 3.15pm

Italy v Ireland, Saturday 15 April, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 4.45pm

Ireland v England, Saturday 22 April, Musgrave Park, 2.15pm

Scotland v Ireland, Saturday 29 April, DAM Health Stadium, 7.30pm 

Ireland Six Nations squad: 

(* denotes uncapped player)

Forwards (18):

Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)*

Sadhbh McGrath (Cooke RFC/Ulster)*

Kathryn Buggy (Gloucester-Hartbury/IQ Rugby)*

Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)

Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartbury/Ulster)

Clara Nielson (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby)*

Deirbhile Nic a Bhaird (Old Belvedere RFC/Munster)

Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht) – captain

Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartbury/IQ Rugby)

Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)*

Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)

Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby)

Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)

Edel McMahon (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht)

Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)

Molly Boyne (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)*

Backs (14):

Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Emma Swords (Harlequins/IQ Rugby)*

Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)

Dannah O’Brien (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)

Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)

Enya Breen (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)

Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)

Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/Ulster)

Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)

Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster)

Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)

Ella Roberts (Wicklow RFC/Leinster)*

Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby). 

Training panel: Mary Healy, Megan Collis, Andrea Stock, Emma Hooban, India Daley, Claire Bennett, Katie Whelan, Leah Tarpey, Kayla Waldron, Ella Durkan, Clare Gorman and Aoife Corey.

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