Ireland 2019 Men’s and Women’s Squads
The 2019 Six Nations is only 2 weeks away and all our Irish teams will face England in Ireland on week 1, the senior women will play England in Donnybrook at 7pm on the Friday night, the 20s will take on England in Irish Independent Park on the same evening. On the Saturday at 4.45pm Ireland will begin the defence of the title they won in empathic fashion on St Patricks Day 2018.
The women’s team will play Wales this weekend in a warm up fixture in Donnybrook and Coach Adam Griggs has named a 29 woman squad for that game and he continues to add more new blood to the squad. The hope this year will be to consolidate the position from last year when they finished behind England and France.
Both Wales and Scotland have made strides forward in the last few years and are catching Ireland rapidly but England and France are still some way clear of the chasing pack due to fact that they have a few professionals in their ranks.
Ireland will also have to qualify for the 2021 World Cup and that will also be in the back of Adam Griggs mind when selecting his squads and also the fact he will not have a few key players down to the fact they are playing in the 7 circuit is still an issue that he will contend with throughout the Championship.
The depth chart that is so regularly associated with Joe Schmidt is beginning to take shape for the Women’s side also and it may not be to the same levels as the men’s team but the work is being put in and more will have to be done to continue to grow the game at grassroots level.
For the men’s team ,it will be tough to emulate 2018 but that is what will need to be done to keep the good feeling going and at least another Championship is the minimum requirement to end the 6 Nations and then and only then the World Cup will come into view.
That’s the big prize at the end of the year but the defence of the 6 Nations title won in good style last year will be the main focus. Joe Schmidt will want to end his involvement in the 6 Nations like he started out winning consecutive titles in 2014 and 2015.
The Ireland squad is strong and people have made a lot of the fact that Ross Byrne out but Schmidt selected the squad to play in the opening two rounds and men like Leavy, Ross Byrne and others will come into the equation in round 3 or before depending on injuries.
This way of doing things has served Schmidt well in the past and will serve him well in 2019. This year is his swansong and he will no doubt want to go out in the best possible fashion. England first up in Dublin is the best start , it will focus the mind and you can be sure that Eddie Jones and his band of merry men will get a very warm reception in 2 weeks time……