‘We’re going after wins’ – Griggs calls for Ireland to deliver ahead of Six Nations opener

IRELAND HEAD COACH Adam Griggs says his squad are determined to put all the disruption and frustration experienced over the last 12 months behind them and make a big impression in this Six Nations.

Ireland finally open their Six Nations campaign against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, a game which will represent their first outing since last October’s win over Italy.

Since then Griggs’ squad have been confined to a series of training camps and in-house matches, and the head coach says they are confident of turning all that time together into positive performances on the pitch. 

Ireland follow up Saturday’s game with a home clash against France, before a final round play-off fixture which will determine their standing in the re-worked tournament. 

“Look, we’re going after wins. There’s no doubt about it,” Griggs said.

“We’ve spoken about being prepared, we’ve been together for a long time. I think once we get stuck into this first game on Saturday, we will have a good idea of where we are at and what we need to continue to work on. 

“But we certainly want to go out there and win games.”

The Ireland squad have taken part in 20 training camps ahead of the rescheduled Women’s Six Nations, and Griggs feels that as a result of the extra time together, his players now have a better understanding of what is required to win Test matches.

“We feel we’ve got a better appreciation for the way the game goes and we’ve been trying to replicate that through training,” he explained.

Eve Higgins will make her Test debut against Wales. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The biggest thing for us is the game understanding and the rugby IQ of these players. I think we know we’ve got super athletes here, all really talented, but it’s about how we manage the game.

“Obviously in Test match rugby you won’t have it all your way, so it’s about sticking out the process of how we can build ourselves into the game, and then how we weather the storm of opposition teams because every team will have that purple patch we speak about.

“So I’d like to think that come Saturday we’ll have that greater understanding. And we’ve got a pretty settled squad here, I think even of the 35, 36 players that we have involved, they’ve all now been together with me certainly for the last couple of seasons.

“I think there is a genuine appreciation of how we want to play the game and how we will put teams under pressure and also cope with the pressure coming back on us.”

Griggs’ matchday squad includes three uncapped players who all have Sevens backgrounds. Eve Higgins makes her 15s debut at centre with Emily Lane and Stacey Flood included on the bench. However there is no place for Sevens sensation Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.

“Eve has been fantastic through training,” Griggs said.

“You know, we’ve asked for these players that haven’t played for us yet to come into training and put their hand up, and she’s one that certainly grabbed the bull by the horns and really stood out and done well, so she earns her spot there.

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“Amee-Leigh is still a work in progress for us at the moment. We think that no doubt, she has the skills. We’ve seen that on the World Series Sevens circuit, and there’s just a few adjustments to the 15-a-side game that she’s still learning at the moment. 

“So all in due time, I’m sure we’ll see her in (the squad).”