Griffin to captain Ireland for the final time against Japan

Ireland Women's captain Ciara Griffin

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Ciara Griffin will wear the Ireland armband for the final time on Saturday afternoon when she leads her side out against Japan at the RDS Arena.

The Munster back-rower announced earlier this week that the side’s final test of the year will be her last in green.

Head Coach Adam Griggs will also take charge of the team for the last time before Greg McWilliams rejoins the Ireland Women’s set up as the boss.

Munster’s Aoife Doyle returns to the starting XV and is joined in the back three by Lauren Delany and Laura Sheehan, who are retained from last Friday’s win over the USA in Dublin.

Eimear Considine and Sene Naoupu continue their midfield partnership, but there is a new-look half-back pairing for Ireland with Kathryn Dane starting at scrum-half and Enya Breen in the pivotal out-half position.

It is Breen’s first start in the number 10 jersey for Ireland and it is a chance for the 22-year-old to build her Test experience.

Breen replaces Stacey Flood at out-half, who along with Beibhinn Parsons, Eve Higgins and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe are not involved on Saturday as they fly to Dubai on Sunday with the Sevens side.

In the pack, Laura Feely, Neve Jones and Linda Djougang are named in the front row, with the experienced Aoife McDermott returning to the second row alongside Sam Monaghan.

Griffin starts at blindside flanker for her 41st and final Ireland cap, with Edel McMahon continuing at openside and Hannah O’Connor back in the starting team at number eight following injury.

Leinster duo Mary Healy and Ella Roberts and Connacht back Shannon Touhey are all included in an Ireland matchday squad for the first time, with the trio among the seven replacements.

The match will kick-off at 3 pm and will be shown live on RTÉ 2.

Ireland Team v Japan

15. Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)(17)
14. Aoife Doyle (Railway Union/Munster)(6)
13. Eimear Considine (UL Bohemians/Munster)(22)
12. Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/Leinster)(45)
11. Laura Sheehan (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby)(5)
10. Enya Breen (UL Bohemians/Munster)(8)
9. Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)(17)

1. Laura Feely (Blackrock College/Connacht)(22)
2. Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster)(5)
3. Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)(16)
4. Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)(17)
5. Sam Monaghan (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(4)
6. Ciara Griffin (UL Bohemians/Munster)(Captain)(40)
7. Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(13)
8. Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/Leinster)(6).

Replacements:

16. Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(30)
17. Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union/Leinster)(4)
18. Mary Healy (Naas/Suttonians/Leinster)*
19. Anna Caplice (Gloucester-Hartpury/IQ Rugby)(15)
20. Maeve Og O’Leary (Blackrock College/Munster)(1)
21. Alisa Hughes (Railway Union/Leinster)(13)
22. Shannon Touhey (Tullamore/Connacht)*
23. Ella Roberts (Wicklow/Leinster)*

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