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Ireland captain Ciara Griffin insists she and her teammates can reach the final of this year's Six Nations, ahead of the tournament kickoff this weekend.

A one-off format for the competition begins on Saturday, with the six sides split into two groups of three, with the winner of each pool earning a place in the decider.

Ireland will sit out the opening weekend of the competition, before taking on Wales and France on the 10th and 17th of April respectively.

Two wins from two would likely be needed to reach the April 24th decider, but speaking at this morning's competition launch, captain Ciara Griffin says they will not be showing up just to make up the numbers.

"You have an opportunity to get to that final and that's our aim. We want to win our pool matches and get into the final, and that's definitely our aim as a group," she said.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Ireland have played just once in more than 13 months, seeing off Italy in round 4 of the 2020 Six Nations last October, leading to a 3rd place finish in the table.

Since then, they have been limited to weekend training camps, and Griffin says they've used that time to put together an intense preparation.

"We can't wait now. We've been chomping at the bit for nearly six months waiting to play, a lot of work has been done in camps as a group, we've had over 20 sessions and 60 pitch sessions as well so we want to get going, play a test match, play some rugby, and we all can't wait.

"We're very happy with our preparation and all the work we've done, now we just want to take to the field and play.

"I won't lie it's been a tough few months in terms of the ups and downs, uncertainty of matches, of playing and not playing.

"The girls have been phenomenal, I just can't commend this group enough they're the most resilient and most dedicated group you'll ever meet and their commitment to the jersey is second to none.

"I know as a group we just can't wait to go out and play and just show all the work we have done behind the scenes," she added.

Ciara Griffin | Covid responsibility

The squad have been able to train collectively during the most recent lockdown, having been given an "elite" exemption by the government.

And with many other sports in Ireland having been unable to train, Griffin says they are under no illusions how seriously they must treat their Covid-bubble in camp.

"I think we justify our status in how we perform and how we train, and how we are very rigid in our behaviours off the pitch. We're very strict in terms of restricting our movements, not interacting, following Covid guidelines, and that allows us to train with an elite exemption.

"We're just in the position with our sport that we can train under elite platform, and we're going to continue doing that as long as we can and putting in the performances in this campaign.

Head coach Adam Griggs included five uncapped players in the squad, all five of which have experience playing 7s rugby for Ireland, placing further emphasis on the style we can expect from Ireland in the months and years to come.

But despite a high number of uncapped players in the group, Griffin says their experiences of the 15-a-sidde game with both club and province will prove vital.

"The girls have been in camps previously so they've been involved for a long time now. They've been doing brilliant, they have great attitudes, they're really eager to learn and they've fitted in seamlessly. They have experience at 15s as well with club and province.

"Amee (Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe) has a brilliant rugby brain, she works so hard off the pitch to improve her performance on the field, so I can't wait to see her tear it up this campaign."

Team of Us. Everyone In.

Vodafone. The main sponsor of the Irish Rugby Team


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Ciara Griffin Ireland Women's Rugby Team Six Nations 2021 Women's Six Nations

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