Women's Six Nations: Megan Williams to make Ireland debut in France opener
|2018 Women’s Six Nations: France v Ireland|
|Venue: Stade Ernst Wallon, Toulouse Date: 3 February Kick-off: 20:00 GMT|
|Coverage: Match report on BBC Sport website|
Leinster wing Megan Williams will earn her first Ireland cap in Saturday’s Women’s Six Nations opener against France in Toulouse.
Williams, who has been capped for Ireland’s Sevens team, scored a try in the non-cap warm-up win over Wales earlier this month.
Niamh Briggs is picked at fly-half after missing last summer’s World Cup because of injury.
Only five of the team started in Ireland’s final game at the World Cup.
Wing Alison Miller is the sole remaining back from the World Cup play-off defeat by Wales with props Lindsay Peat and Cliodhna Moloney retained from the pack alongside lock Ciara Cooney and number eight Ciara Griffin, who is captain.
Ulster’s Claire McLaughlin will partner Sene Naoupu at centre.
Naopu was one of the replacements in Ireland’s last World Cup game while the bench includes Leah Lyons, Paul Fitzpatrick and Ciara O’Connor who were in the match-day squad for that contest.
Uncapped Connacht player Laura Feely is in line for her debut after being named in the replacements.
After Saturday’s opener in Toulouse, Ireland will have home contests in Donnybrook against Italy, Wales and Scotland before their final game against champions England in Coventry on 16 March.
Adam Griggs was named head coach for this year’s Six Nations after Tom Tierney stepped down following Ireland’s disappointing World Cup performance as hosts.
The Irish Rugby Football Union’s decision to advertise for a temporary, part-time successor to Tom Tierney caused controversy in October.
Irish Rugby bosses later expressed “regret for any upset caused” and indicated the position could become full-time following the Six Nations.
New Zealand-born Griggs’ appointment is until the end of the tournament.
Ireland: Kim Flood (Leinster); Megan Williams (Leinster), Claire McLaughlin (Ulster), Sene Naoupu (Leinster), Alison Miller (Connacht); Niamh Briggs (Munster), Ailsa Hughes (Leinster); Lindsay Peat (Leinster), Cliodhna Moloney (Leinster), Fiona Reidy (Munster); Ciara Cooney (Leinster), Orla Fitzsimons (Leinster); Anna Caplice (Munster), Claire Molloy (Connacht), Ciara Griffin (Munster) capt.
Replacements: Leah Lyons (Munster), Laura Feely (Connacht), Ciara O’Connor (Connacht), Nichola Fryday (Connacht), Paula Fitzpatrick (Leinster), Mary Healy (Connacht), Nikki Caughey (Ulster), Mairead Coyne (Connacht)