It's something of a new era for both countries as they meet in Dublin
Women’s Six Nations Ireland v Wales Preview
Ireland will host Wales in their first Women’s Six Nations match of 2022, which sees the usual five-round format reinstated.
Last year there were pools and a final as organisers shortened the competition due to Covid, but now restrictions have eased the full schedule is back and the encounter between Ireland and Wales will be interesting for a whole host of reasons.
Based off of last year’s performances Ireland would be a shoo-in to win the game. Wales finished last in the table and Ireland had some promising new players from the sevens programme making a difference in attack. However, recent events for both nations could impact their tournament runs.
Ireland failed to book a place at the Rugby World Cup after they lost to Spain and Scotland in the European qualifiers last year, triggering criticism of the 15s programme from players and a review process.
The IRFU have since apologised to the women’s players and accepted all the recommendations of the first review.
The WRU was also criticised last year and was accused of not investing enough in the women’s team. At the start of the year, the governing body gave 12 Wales women’s players professional contracts as well as a number of part-time retainer deals.
So why is this background important? The morale in both camps is likely to be different to 12 months ago and it should be a fascinating fixture in Dublin.
Here are all the details for the Women’s Six Nations Ireland v Wales match in 2022.
What’s the big Ireland v Wales team news?
The biggest shock of the Ireland team announcement was that Beibhinn Parsons is on the bench. The winger was one of the breakout players of last year’s tournament.
Instead Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Lucy Mulhall start on the wings. Nicole Cronin is at fly-half and will have debutant Aoibheann Reilly as her half-back partner.
New captain Nichola Fryday is joined by Sam Monaghan in the second row while Dorothy Wall returns from injury to start in the back row. Christy Haney and Anna McGann could win their first caps from the bench.
For Wales, Lisa Neumann and Jasmine Joyce are named on the wings with Kayleigh Powell at full-back. Hannah Jones and Kerin Lake make up the centre partnership with Elinor Snowsill and Keira Bevan at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.
In the forwards, Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips and Cerys Hale start as the front row, the locks are Natalia John and Gwen Crabb while Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender and Siwan Lillicrap are named as the back row. Captain Lillicrap has recovered from Covid to take her place in the team.
On the bench, Sioned Harries could play in her first Test since 2019 and Sisilia Tuipulotu could win her first cap.
What have the coaches said about Ireland v Wales?
Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams said: “This is a great start for us as a group, we’re really excited about the youth and experience in the team. We’ll learn a lot from this game, but for these players to go out and represent Ireland at the RDS is going to be special.
“It’ll be a great occasion and I’m excited to see how they perform, because we’ve got through a lot of work over the last couple of weeks.”
Wales head coach Ioan Cunningham said: “The game against USA two weeks ago gave everyone a chance to stake their claim so we are certainly rewarding performance but also very conscious that we have three Test matches in three weekends. There is now healthy competition throughout the squad which is ideal.
“We want to build on the good progress we saw in the autumn. We want to play a high tempo game and have challenged the players to perform at high intensity.”
What time does it kick-off and is it on TV?
The match kicks off at 4.45pm on Saturday 26 March at the RDS Arena in Dublin.
The game will be available to watch on BBC Two Northern Ireland and BBC iPlayer. For information on how to watch the match elsewhere in the world read our Women’s Six Nations live stream guide
Kat Roche will make her refereeing debut in the Six Nations for the match, with Hollie Davidson and Nikki O’Donnell the assistants. Claire Hodnett will be the TMO.
If you want to keep track of all the fixtures, download our Women’s Six Nations wallchart.
What are the line-ups?
Ireland: Eimear Considine; Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, Lucy Mulhall; Nicole Cronin, Aoibheann Reilly; Linda Djougang, Neve Jones, Katie O’Dwyer, Nichola Fryday (captain), Sam Monaghan, Dorothy Wall, Edel McMahon, Brittany Hogan.
Replacements: Emma Hooban, Chloe Pearse, Christy Haney, Anna McGann, Hannah O’Connor, Kathryn Dane, Enya Breen, Beibhinn Parsons.
Wales: Kayleigh Powell; Lisa Neumann, Hannah Jones, Kerin Lake, Jasmine Joyce; Elinor Snowsill, Keira Bevan; Gwenllian Pyrs, Carys Phillips, Cerys Hale, Natalia John, Gwen Crabb, Alisha Butchers, Alex Callender, Siwan Lillicrap (captain).
Replacements: Kelsey Jones, Cara Hope, Donna Rose, Sioned Harries, Bethan Lewis, Ffion Lewis, Robyn Wilkins, Sisilla Tuipulotu.
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