Source: ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Scott Bemand makes his first call

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Ireland Women’s Training Squad:

Scott Bemand has announced the names of 30 players to form his first training squad preparing for the WXV:

Aoife Wafer (Blackrock College/Leinster), Brittany Hogan (Old Belvedere/Ulster), Christy Haney (Blackrock College/Leinster), Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird (Old Belvedere/Munster), Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/Munster), Edel McMahon (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht), Fiona Tuite (Old Belvedere/Ulster)*, Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby), Kathryn Buggy (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College/Munster), Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster), Niamh O’Dowd (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Sadhbh McGrath (City of Derry/Cooke/Ulster), Sam Monaghan (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby), Sarah Delaney (Cill Dara/Leinster)*, Siobhan McCarthy (Worcester Warriors/Munster)*

Aoibheann Reilly (Blackrock College/Connacht), Aoife Dalton (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/Munster), Béibhinn Parsons (Blackrock College/Connacht), Clara Barrett (Ballina/ Connacht)*, Dannah O’Brien (Old Belvedere/Leinster), Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster),
Katie Whelan (Old Belvedere/Leinster)*, Méabh Deely (Blackrock College/Connacht), Molly Scuffil- McCabe (Railway Union/Leinster), Nicole Fowley (Galwegians/Connacht), Natasja Behan (Blackrock College/Leinster), Vicky Irwin (Sale Sharks/Ulster)
(13) *uncapped

Additional Players:
Eimear Corri (Blackrock College/Leinster), India Daley (Cooke/Ulster), Kayla Waldron (Galwegians/Connacht), Leah Tarpey (Railway Union/Leinster), Megan Collis (Railway Union/ Leinster), Ruth Campbell (MU Barnhall/Leinster)

This is his first big call since taking over the reins of Irish women’s rugby from Greg McWilliams at the end of July.

In all honesty, he must be concerned about only one match at the most, against Spain in the third fixture (details below). That may be the reason why he limits himself to 30 players, rather than the 32 that other nations have published. But he leaves himself room for manoeuvre by adding six more names as back-up.

Points of interest:

He has not yet committed himself to a replacement for Nichola Fryday, the retiring captain.

Five uncapped players find favour, having impressed during the Interpros. They include Delany, Barrett and Whelan, who took part in the Under 20 tour of Italy back in June.

Béibhinn Parsons and Eve Higgins are two important names on the list; both members of the Sevens squad that earned a place at the coming Olympics. One of Ireland’s many problems in the 6N was the absence of so many talented backs, called up for the run to the Olympics.

The provinces split strikingly: Leinster 15, Connacht 6, Ulster 6, Munster 5 and IQ (overseas- based) 4. So Munster rank last of the four provinces, which must be a first. The number of England-based players is encouragingly low, perhaps reflecting the tighter controls on club- membership being laid down by the new PWR board.

The squad will assemble on 10 September at the High Performance Centre in Dublin, to prepare for the three WXV3 tests.

Bemand has two targets in view: the WXV, then the 2024 Six Nations, which may well prove an even more important staging post for a new-look squad. As some might say: ‘the path can only lead upwards!’

Ireland’s WXV3 Fixtures:

Friday 13 October v Kazakhstan
Saturday 21 October v Colombia
Saturday 28 October v Spain

All at The Sevens Stadium, Dubai

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