Ireland Women’s Head Coach Scott Bemand has named his Match Day Squad, for Saturday’s final round of the WXV3 against Spain at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai (Kick-off 5pm local time/2pm Irish time).
Bemand’s side have recorded two impressive wins against Kazakhstan and Colombia in the opening rounds of the campaign in Dubai, with Saturday’s showdown against Spain set to determine the overall winners of the inaugural WXV3 title.
Regional qualifiers in 2024 will decide the identity of the three European teams to play in WXV2, but there is plenty to play this weekend. Ireland head into the final round on top of the standings, a point ahead of Spain and a points difference of +131.
Ireland, therefore, only need to avoid defeat in Dubai to claim the first-ever WXV 3 title.
Bemand has selected another experienced squad for the final round match on Saturday evening, with co-captains Sam Monaghan and Edel McMahon starting in the second row and back row respectively.
The co-captains form part of a strong pack, with Linda Djougang, Neve Jones and Christy Haney named in the front row, as Dorothy Wall starts the game this week, and joins Monaghan in the engine room. Grace Moore is at blindside flanker, McMahon at openside and Brittany Hogan at number eight.
The backline once again contains an exciting blend of youth and experience, with Meabh Deely, Beibhinn Parsons and Natasja Behan starting in the back three, centre partnership of Aoife Dalton and Eve Higgins, as Molly Scuffil-McCabe and Dannah O’Brien are selected in the half-backs.
Commenting on the squad announcement, Bemand said: “Competition for places in this final round squad has been high, this is exactly where we want to be. It has taken 31 players to get to this point and both this squad and individuals have grown over these three weeks.
“We have previous history with Spain and we know this will be a level up of competition that this squad needs to test itself against.
“It’s great to see Aoife Wafer back in the group, after some time away from international rugby and looking forward to seeing what this team’s best performance can look like.”
Saturday’s match is available to stream for free on RugbyPass TV, while there will be live updates on Irish Rugby social media channels.
- Méabh Deely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)(9)
- Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(9)
- Eve Higgins (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(11)
- Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)(9)
- Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)(20)
- Dannah O’Brien (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) (9)
- Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(11)
- Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster)(31)
- Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury)(20)
- Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)(12)
- Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)(22)
- Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby)(captain)(17)
- Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby)(12)
- Edel McMahon (Exeter Chiefs)(captain)(23)
- Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere RFC/Ulster)(17)
- Clara Nielson (Exeter Chiefs)(4)
- Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere RFC/Leinster) (2)
- Sadhbh McGrath (MU Barnhall RFC/Cooke RFC/Ulster)(7)
- Eimear Corri (Blackrock RFC/Leinster)(2)
- Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster) (1)
- Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)(6)
- Nicole Fowley (Galwegians RFC/Connacht)(9)
- Leah Tarpey (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)(3).