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Murphy injury throws spanner in the works of Irish women's grand plans

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Out-half Ellen Murphy is a doubt for Ireland’s Six Nations tussle with Wales at Energia Park on Sunday. (stock photo)

Out-half Ellen Murphy is a doubt for Ireland’s Six Nations tussle with Wales at Energia Park on Sunday. (stock photo)

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Out-half Ellen Murphy is a doubt for Ireland’s Six Nations tussle with Wales at Energia Park on Sunday. (stock photo)

Out-half Ellen Murphy is a doubt for Ireland's Six Nations tussle with Wales at Energia Park on Sunday.

It would be a serious setback were the 24-year-old unable to feature as Ireland are currently nailing down the fundamentals of an exciting, expansive style with Murphy in control of the game-plan.

The playmaker was forced off with a calf injury against Scotland, pushing coach Adam Griggs into a backline reshuffle.

Should Murphy fail to recover, it could fall on Sene Naoupu to move into the number 10 shirt, although Larissa Muldoon has been summoned as cover for Murphy.

Griggs has also called the uncapped Neve Jones into an extended 27-strong Ireland squad to prepare for the Welsh.

The Ulster hooker has been promoted in light of first-choice Cliodhna Moloney going through the return-to-play protocols after a head knock against the Scots.

The timeline makes Moloney a 50-50 chance to make it and Victoria Dabanovich O'Mahony could be in line for a first championship start.

Experienced back-three operator Eimear Considine will be given the leeway to prove her fitness at training tomorrow and Friday.

Concluding

Jack-of-all-trades Hannah Tyrrell slots straight into the group after concluding the latest leg of the World Sevens Series in Sydney.

Ireland have already played Wales twice this season, losing in Dublin in November and winning last month in Wales.

Griggs is scheduled to release the Ireland team on Friday morning.

Meanwhile, Manu Tuilagi has been ruled out of England's Calcutta Cup clash against Scotland this Saturday after suffering a "low-grade groin strain", head coach Eddie Jones has revealed.

But the Australian is hopeful Tuilagi will feature again in this year's Six Nations and is optimistic that he will return for England's third-round encounter against Ireland on February 23, having been forced off in the 16th minute of last Sunday's 24-17 defeat against France.

"He has got a slight low-grade adductor strain," Jones said yesterday.

"But hopefully he will be fit for Ireland, which is very good news - outstanding news."

With Tuilagi ruled out, Bath centre Jonathan Joseph is likely to be promoted from the bench after coming on last weekend, while Exeter's Ollie Devoto and Northampton's Fraser Dingwall are alternative options.

IRELAND WOMEN'S SQUAD (v Wales) - Backs (13): M Claffey, E Considine, N Cronin, K Dane, L Delany, A Doyle, C Keohane, L Muldoon, E Murphy, S Naoupu, B Parsons, L Sheehan, H Tyrrell. Forwards (14): A Caplice, C Cooney, V Dabanovich O'Mahony, L Djougang, L Feely, N Fryday, C Griffin (capt), N Jones, L Lyons, A McDermott, E McMahon, C Moloney, L Peat, D Wall.

Irish Independent