Ireland women's national rugby union team

The Ireland women's national rugby union team represents Ireland in international women's rugby union competitions such as the Women's Six Nations Championship and the Women's Rugby World Cup. They have also represented Ireland in the FIRA Women's European Championship. Ireland won the 2013 and 2015 Women's Six Nations Championships. In 2013 they also achieved both a Triple Crown and Grand Slam. They finished fourth in the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup after defeating New Zealand in the pool stages. Ireland hosted the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup. The team was originally organised by the Irish Women's Rugby Football Union. However, since 2009 it has been organised by the Irish Rugby Football Union

UnionIrish Rugby Football Union
Head coachAdam Griggs
CaptainCiara Griffin
Home stadiumDonnybrook Stadium
First colours
Second colours
First international
 Scotland 10–0 Ireland 
(Raeburn Place 14 February 1993)
Biggest win
 Scotland 3–73 Ireland 
(Broadwood Stadium 22 March 2015)
Biggest defeat
 England 79–0 Ireland 
(Worcester, England 17 February 2002)
World Cup
Appearances6 (First in 1994)
Best resultFourth, 2014


Early years

The Irish Women's Rugby Football Union was established in 1991.[1] Ireland made their international debut on 14 February 1993 with an away friendly against Scotland. This was also Scotland's first international. The match was played at Raeburn Place in front of a crowd of over 1,000. The Ireland team was coached by Alain Rolland while the Scotland coaches included Sandy Carmichael. Scotland won 10–0 with two tries from their captain, Sandra Colamartino. Ireland's first captain was Jill Henderson. A year later, on 13 February 1994, Ireland made their home international debut when a return match was played at Ravenhill. This time Scotland won 5–0.[2][3][4] In 2001 the IWRFU became affiliated to the Irish Rugby Football Union, in 2008 it effectively merged with the IRFU and since 2009 the IRFU has managed the women's national team.[1][4][5]

Rugby World Cup

Ireland have competed in every Women's Rugby World Cup since making their debut in the second tournament in 1994. They made their World Cup debut on 13 April 1994 with an 18–5 win against a Scottish Students XV. This was also Ireland's first competitive match in any competition.

Ireland's best performance at a World Cup tournament came in 2014 when they finished fourth after defeating New Zealand and winning Pool B. After defeating the United States 23–17 in their opening pool game, Ireland faced New Zealand, the 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup winners in their second game. With tries from Heather O'Brien and Alison Miller and two conversions and a penalty from Niamh Briggs, Ireland defeated New Zealand 17–14. It was just the second match New Zealand had lost in a World Cup tournament. It was the first time the Ireland women had played New Zealand and they became only the second Irish team, after Munster in 1978, to defeat a New Zealand national rugby union team.[6][7][8] The result has been described as "one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history".[9] Ireland subsequently qualified for the semi-finals with a 40–5 win against Kazakhstan.[10][11] Ireland eventually finished fourth in the tournament after losing 18–25 to France in the third place play-off.[12]

Six Nations Championship

Ireland made their debut in the Women's Six Nations Championship, then known as the Women's Home Nations Championship, in the inaugural 1996 competition. They played their first game against Scotland on 21 January 1996.[2] During the 1990s and early 2000s, Ireland never challenged for the championship. They regularly finished in the wooden spoon position at the bottom of the table. Before winning their first championship in 2013, the highest position they ever finished in the competition was third. They did not enter in 2000 and 2001 and were replaced by Spain. When Ireland returned in 2002, the competition became known as the Six Nations for the first time. In 2002 Ireland also suffered their biggest ever defeat when they lost 79–0 to England. Ireland won their first Six Nations match in 2005 when they defeated Wales 11–6.[1] Ireland defeated Scotland for the first time on 10 March 2007 with an 18–6 win at Meggetland.[2] In 2009 Ireland defeated France for the first time.[13]

Ireland won their first championship in 2013, winning both a Triple Crown and a Grand Slam at the same time. In their opening match of the campaign, Ireland beat Wales 12–10. Then on 9 February 2013 they defeated England for the first time. Alison Miller scored a hat-trick of tries as Ireland won 25–0. On 23 February 2013 they clinched their first Triple Crown with a 30–3 win against Scotland.[14][15][16] On 8 March 2013 Ireland effectively won the championship after they defeated France 15–10. It was confirmed the following day after Italy failed to defeat England.[17][18] Ireland eventually finished four points clear of runners-up France.[19] Ireland secured the Grand Slam with a 6–3 away win against Italy on Saint Patrick's Day. Two penalties from Niamh Briggs gave Ireland their fifth win in a row.[19][20][21]

In 2015, Ireland won their second championship and second Triple Crown in three years. They won the championship on points difference over France, after both teams had won four of their five matches. Ireland had to win their final game, against Scotland, by a margin of 27 points or more to win the title and achieved this with a 73–3 win. The result is also Ireland's biggest ever win.[22][23][24]

FIRA Women's European Championship

Ireland has also competed in the FIRA Women's European Championship. They first played in the tournament in 1997. Their best performance in this tournament was a third-place finish in 2008. In 2004 they won the Plate competition after defeating Spain 20–12 in the final.

Current squad

2018 Women's Six Nations Championship squad

New head coach, Adam Griggs,[25] named his first Six Nations squad on 22 December 2017. It featured 38 players from 10 different clubs. It included nine uncapped players and nine Ireland women's rugby sevens internationals. The team was selected following the conclusion of the 2017 IRFU Women's Interprovincial Series.[26] Ciara Griffin of UL Bohemians and Munster was named as the new Ireland captain on 15 January 2018.[27]

PlayerPositionDate of Birth/AgeCapsClubProvince
Niamh Briggs Fullback (1984-09-30)30 September 1984 (aged 33) 57 UL BohemiansMunster
Nikki Caughey Centre (1992-09-03)3 September 1992 (aged 25) 10 Railway UnionUlster
Michelle Claffey Back Blackrock CollegeLeinster
Laura Sheehan Wing UL Bohemians Munster
Nicole Cronin Back (1992-08-20)20 August 1992 (aged 25) UL BohemiansMunster
Jeamie Deacon Back (1987-06-25)25 June 1987 (aged 30) Blackrock CollegeLeinster
Katie Fitzhenry Hooker (1989-04-23)23 April 1989 (aged 28) Blackrock CollegeLeinster
Ellen Murphy Back Old BelvedereLeinster
Louise Galvin Centre (1987-04-03)3 April 1987 (aged 30) UL BohemiansMunster
Katie Heffernan Back (1998-09-08)8 September 1998 (aged 19) Railway UnionLeinster
Eve Higgins Back Railway UnionLeinster
Ailsa Hughes Scrum-half (1991-04-18)18 April 1991 (aged 26) 2 Railway UnionLeinster
Claire McLaughlin Centre (1991-11-21)21 November 1991 (aged 26) 6 Old BelvedereUlster
Alison Miller Wing (1984-10-30)30 October 1984 (aged 33) 36 Old BelvedereConnacht
Sene Naoupu Centre (1984-02-02)2 February 1984 (aged 34) Old BelvedereLeinster
Deirbhile Nic A Bhaird Back Old BelvedereMunster
Hannah Tyrrell Wing (1990-08-10)10 August 1990 (aged 27) 7 Old BelvedereLeinster
Susan Vaughan Back (1990-07-24)24 July 1990 (aged 27) Railway UnionLeinster
Megan Williams Back (1991-08-21)21 August 1991 (aged 26) 18 Old BelvedereLeinster
Ashleigh Baxter Forward (1991-12-21)21 December 1991 (aged 26) CookeUlster
Anna Caplice Forward (1989-03-13)13 March 1989 (aged 28) 1 RichmondMunster
Ciara Cooney Forward (1988-01-18)18 January 1988 (aged 30) 12 Railway UnionLeinster
Laura Feely Forward GalwegiansConnacht
Nichola Fryday Forward (1995-06-02)2 June 1995 (aged 22) 2 TullamoreConnacht
Ciara Griffin Flanker (1994-01-10)10 January 1994 (aged 24) 11 UL BohemiansMunster
Leah Lyons Prop (1994-11-27)27 November 1994 (aged 23) 23 HarlequinsMunster
Aoife McDermott Forward Railway UnionLeinster
Edel McMahon Forward (1994-03-25)25 March 1994 (aged 23) GalwegiansConnacht
Claire Molloy Flanker (1988-06-22)22 June 1988 (aged 29) 53 WaspsConnacht
Cliodhna Moloney Hooker (1993-05-31)31 May 1993 (aged 24) 8 WaspsLeinster
Lindsay Peat Prop (1980-11-05)5 November 1980 (aged 37) 6 Railway UnionLeinster
Fiona Reidy Prop (1988-03-12)12 March 1988 (aged 29) 6 UL BohemiansMunster


Results summary

Full internationals only

Correct as of 27 November 2016

Against First game Played Won Drawn Lost Win %
 New Zealand2014210150.00%
 South Africa20061100100.00%
 United States1994620433.33%


See List of Ireland women's national rugby union team matches

Head coaches

Alain Rolland[3]1993
Johnnie Neary1998
Philip Doyle2003–2006
John O’Sullivan2006–2008
Steven Hennessy[13]2009–2010
Philip Doyle2010–2014
Tom Tierney2014–2017
Adam Griggs[25]2017–



  1. "'Women who participated in other traditional 'male' sports used to be regarded as some sort of sexual deviants'". The Irish Independent. 6 August 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  2. "Ireland and Scotland celebrate 25 years". 14 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  3. "Pioneers celebrate 25th anniversary of first Scotland women's international". 14 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  4. "Women's Teams Reunite To Mark 25th Anniversary". 14 February 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  5. "Ireland's new Call". The Irish Independent. 30 July 2017. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  6. "Black Ferns lose historic match to Ireland". 6 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
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  8. "Irish women's rugby team record historic win over New Zealand". The Irish Independent. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  9. "Women's Rugby World Cup: The story so far". 4 August 2017. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
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  12. "France too strong for Ireland in playoffs". 18 August 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  13. "Women Secure First Ever Victory Over France". 6 February 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  14. "Miller hat-trick hands Ireland historic win over England". 9 February 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  15. "Women's Six Nations: Ireland beat Scotland to win Triple Crown". BBC. 23 February 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  16. "In pictures: Ireland's women capture first ever Triple Crown". 23 February 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  17. "Ireland sink France to close in on RBS 6 Nations Grand Slam". 8 March 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
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  20. "Grand Slam Glory For Ireland Women". 17 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  21. "Narrow win secures Grand Slam for Irish women". The Irish Times. 17 March 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  22. "Women's Six Nations: Ireland hammer Scotland to clinch title". BBC. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  23. "Biggest Ever Win Seals Six Nations Title For Ireland Women". 22 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  24. "Ireland Women Crowned 6 Nations Champions". 22 March 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  25. "Griggs Appointed Ireland Women's Head Coach". 10 November 2017. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  26. "Ireland Women's Squad Announced For 2018 Six Nations". 22 December 2017. Retrieved 4 March 2018.
  27. "'Natural leader' Ciara Griffin named as Ireland Women's captain". The Irish Times. 15 January 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2018.
  28. "Ireland Women Squad". Retrieved 4 March 2018.
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