Women's Six Nations: Hannah Tyrrell to make Irish debut in Italy

Six Nations women's captains Silvia Gaudino (Italy), Niamh Briggs (Ireland), Gayle Mignot (France), Tracy Balmer (Scotland), Rachel Taylor (Wales) and Tamara Taylor (England)
France go into this season as Six Nations holders
Women's Six Nations: Italy v Ireland
Venue: Stadio Mario Lodigiani, Florence Date: Friday, 6 February Kick-off: 19:00 GMT Coverage: Match report on BBC Sport Website

Former Dublin women's gaelic footballer Hannah Tyrrell will make her Ireland debut in Friday's Six Nations opener against Italy in Florence.

Tyrrell is the only debutant in the starting line-up but the bench does include five other uncapped players.

Sarah Mimnagh, Fiona O'Brien, Katie Norris, Katie Fitzhenry and Sene Naoupu are the other players in line to make their debuts.

Niamh Briggs will captain the Irish following Fiona Coghlan's retirement.

Lynne Cantwell, Grace Davitt, Siobhan Fleming and Laura Guest also ended their international careers after last year's World Cup where Ireland reached the semi-finals.

In addition, Sharon Lynch, Ashleigh Baxter and Niamh Kavanagh are unavailable because of injury.

Women's Six Nations - the record since 1996
England: 13 titles
France: 4
Ireland: 1
Scotland: 1

Gillian Bourke is named at hooker and will be joined by Ruth O'Reilly and Ailis Egan in the front row.

A familiar look second row sees Marie Louise Reilly and Sophie Spence named with Paula Fitzpatrick, Claire Molloy and Heather O'Brien completing the pack.

Larissa Muldoon is named at scrum-half and will be partnered at 10 by Nora Stapleton.

Jackie Shiels and Jenny Murphy form the centre partnership, with Alison Miller joining Tyrrell on the wing and skipper Briggs starting at full-back.

Replacement Naoupu is the wife of Connacht back row star George Naoupu.

The Ireland squad are being guided this season by the IRFU's women's director Anthony Eddy and new coach Tom Tierney following the departure of Philip Doyle.

"There is a natural changeover with the number of players retiring after last season, but there is a core group of senior players that are very experienced and talented," said Tierney.

"It's going to be a very tough game over in Italy, we are under no illusions, but we are going over there very confident that we will be competitive."

TEAMS

Ireland: N Briggs (capt); H Tyrrell, J Murphy, J Shiels, A Miller; N Stapleton, L Muldoon; R O'Reilly, G Bourke, A Egan; ML Reilly, S Spence; P Fitzpatrick, C Molloy, H O'Brien. Replacements: S Mimnagh, F Hayes, F O'Brien, O Fitzsimons, K Norris, T Rosser, K Fitzhenry, S Naoupu.

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