Ciara Griffin column: “Unfamiliar Belfast setting may benefit Ireland against Scotland.”

Ciara Griffin

Venue:Kingspan Stadium in Belfast Date: Saturday, 30 April Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Watch on BBC Two NI & BBC iPlayer; follow live text commentary on the BBC Sport website

It is wonderful to see the Six Nations finally come to Belfast. Ireland hopes to win a tough campaign against Scotland.

The Kingspan Stadium game will be a showcase for women's rugby, and it will allow supporters who cannot make it to Dublin to enjoy Ireland at their doorstep.

It has been a success to move Ireland's home games around. Musgrave Park saw a record crowd for the win against Italy, and there were also high numbers in RDS for the defeat to Wales. I hope that we will see large numbers in Belfast to demonstrate both the growth of the game as well as the fact that Irish rugby is not confined to Dublin.

Kingspan is a place I have always loved. I've been there four times. Two with Ireland, two with Munster. It's a wonderful stadium. It has a wonderful atmosphere. It echos around you.

Because they are worthy of it, I hope that there is strong support for the team. This campaign is a labor of love and they deserve your support.

A change can be good for the team. It is nice to go to different stadiums. This can help to break up the monotony that can build up.

Ireland's final home game is in Scotland for a while, and it's a brand new venue. Ireland will be looking to correct some wrongs and find solace in the England loss before returning to club rugby.

Scotland will be suffering, but they will beat them. They will be frustrated with their performance against Italy in which they lost a lead at halftime to lose in Parma. However, they have a lot to play for and will be eager to get a win to start their World Cup preparations.

Scoreline is not an accurate reflection of Ireland’s effort

Although it might sound odd given the score of 69-0, Ireland can take positives out of England's loss.

The game displayed England's strength and skill as the Red Roses won 22 consecutive victories.

Ireland will be disappointed by the scoreline but it doesn’t reflect their efforts as a whole.

Although it was always going be a huge task, Ireland performed very well in the first period. It was a positive result, as not many other teams have managed to keep England at 10-0.

That breakdown was a major victory for Ireland. Edel McMahon, with her efforts at the breakdown as well as her defensive work, was a major player in that game. She really slowed down the English attack ruck.

England was the team with the fastest ruck speed going into the tournament. However, Ireland forced England into recruiting more players to the tournament. This gave Ireland the time they needed to establish their line.

It was clear that it frustrated England, and forced them to make unforced mistakes inside the Irish 22, which we had not previously seen from Simon Middleton’s team.

It was disappointing to see the sevens players absent. It's unfair for the players, as you have players who have been at camp for 10 weeks but didn't play much the first few rounds. Then suddenly, they get thrown in the frying pan against England.

This is not a mix and match. Six Nations is a highly sought-after competition to play in. It was always something I loved, and I hope that we don't forget about the Six Nations. You want to be your best in that tournament.

It's time to act on the sevens issue

Beibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood and Eve Higgins
Three players were unable to travel to England with Ireland because of commitments with sevens, including Eve Higgins, Stacey Flood, and Beibhinn Parasons.

Ireland is an amateur team, and players were taken from them mid-tournament.

England is a team that their union invested in. They are now 22 games unbeaten. They will be competing for the Grand Slam on Saturday, and will be among the favorites to win the World Cup in Sept.

This is a clear example of the benefits of investing. England was in a similar position in 2015. In 2015, the RFU took a lot from the 7s team. They had one of their worst campaigns. But they decided to concentrate on the 15s. I'm hopeful the IRFU will follow that lead.

Positive talks have been had, but they need to take action. It's not easy to play your heart out and face obstacles beyond your control.

However, it was encouraging to hear Martin Anayi, chief executive of United Rugby Championship, say that there is a “willingness” to create a women's rugby competition.

It is amazing to hear that women see the URC as a viable option. Women's Rugby is the fastest growing sport so it makes sense for investors to make an investment in it. They should back their words with concrete evidence, because women's rugby can be exciting and fast.

The inter-provincial series in Ireland isn't being used to its full potential. It only hosts three to five games per year. A more competitive structure would allow for greater growth and ensure a bright future in Ireland.

Ciara Griffin spoke to Matt Gault, BBC Sport.

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