Ireland call up seven Connacht women
Published 09/10/2015 | 02:30
Four uncapped Connacht representatives have been selected as part of the 33-woman Ireland squad for an open training session at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast tomorrow (2.30), the first Irish women's get-together of the season.
Ireland boss Tom Tierney has given Mairead Coyne (Galwegians), Grainne Egan (St Mary's), Mairead Hopkins (Castlebar/Ballina) and Ciara O'Connor (Galwegians) their first chance to impress.
Mary Healy (Galwegians) and Ruth O'Reilly (Galwegians) have been recalled, while Sevens star Sene Naoupu (Galwegians) will also be a part of the squad for the Belfast session.
Leinster are the best represented province with 13 women involved, Munster have four and Ulster have just two - there are eight from outside the four provinces.
Ireland have a huge weight of expectation on their shoulders after they claimed the Six Nations crown last term.
Belfast and Dublin will host the Women's World Cup when it takes place in Ireland in 2017. So this is an ideal opportunity for new players into the squad to showcase their talent.
In all there are 14 uncapped players that will take to the field in Belfast on Saturday.
Women's rugby has been on an unprecedented boom in the country since the World Cup in 2014.
Ireland finished fourth in that tournament, but it was their performance against New Zealand that stood out.
Ireland beat the Black Fearns 17-14, in the first ever international between the two sides.
Ireland went on to lose their third-fourth place-off against France, but women's rugby in Ireland has been on an upward curve since then.