Adam Griggs relishing tough French test

New Ireland women’s head coach Adam Griggs believes a daunting test in France tonight will be the making of his team.

Adam Griggs relishing tough French test

Ireland are huge underdogs as they travel to Stade Ernest-Wallon in Toulouse with a new-look side.

Griggs is trying to get Ireland to bounce back after a disastrous World Cup campaign where they finished second to France in Pool C and they lost their seventh and eighth-placed play-off with Wales.

But since then Griggs has taken over from Tom Tierney and has handed winger Megan Williams her first cap, in his maiden competitive fixture in charge.

“It’s a very tough start for us, but in a way it’s going to set us up well for the tournament,” said Griggs.

“It’s such a tough game. We are kicking off at 9pm which is a challenge in itself, but then leading into three home games that will set us up nicely for the rest of the tournament.”

Loosehead prop Lindsay Peat and hooker Cliodhna Moloney are in the front row alongside Fiona Reidy, who makes her first Six Nations start at tighthead.

It’s an all-Leinster second row where Ciara Cooney is joined by Orla Fitzsimons.

New captain Ciara Griffin starts at No 8, while former captain Claire Molloy is at openside flanker with Anna Caplice on the opposite flank.

Ailsa Hughes is the scrum-half and she starts alongside Niamh Briggs on her return form a long achilles injury lay-off.

Ciara McLoughlin and Sene Naoupu make up the centre pairing.

First-time cap and former Sevens star Williams is on the right wing, with Alison Miller on the left wing and Kim Flood at full-back.

France ended Ireland’s dreams of winning the World Cup when the sides met at the UCD Bowl on August 17. Two tries from Caroline Ladagnous and a Romane Menager effort gave the visitors a 21-0 half-time lead that Ireland never recovered from in a 21-5 defeat.

But new coach Griggs says this team is desperate to make amends for the World Cup and back up the 13-10 victory Ireland registered against France in last year’s Six Nations.

“The atmosphere is very positive. Everyone wants to rectify what happened at the World Cup, so we are looking to move forward,” said Griggs.

“The women have shown that they are in a positive head space and they want to put that behind them.

“We want to show that we are better than what some of those performances were.”

IRELAND:

K Flood (Railway Union/Leinster); M Williams (Old Belvedere/Leinster), C McLaughlin (Cooke/Ulster), S Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster), A Miller (Old Belvedere/Connacht); N Briggs (UL Bohemians/Munster), A Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster); L Peat (Railway Union/Leinster), C Moloney (Railway Union/Leinster), F Reidy (UL Bohemians/Munster); C Cooney (Railway Union/Leinster), O Fitzsimons (St. Mary’s/Leinster); A Caplice (UL Bohemians/ Munster), C Molloy (Bristol/Connacht), C Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster).

Replacements:

L Lyons (Highfield/Munster), L Feely (Galwegians/Connacht), C O’Connor (Galwegians/Connacht), N Fryday (Tullamore/Connacht), P Fitzpatrick (St Mary’s/Leinster), M Healy (Galwegians/Connacht), N Caughey (Railway Union/Ulster), M Coyne (Galwegians/Connacht).

Women’s 6 Nations: France v Ireland

Tonight: Stade Ernest Wallon, 9pm

Bet: France 1/12, Ireland 7/1, Draw 35/1

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