Linda Djougang has the potential to become one of the best props in the world, according to Ireland assistant coach Rob Sweeney, with Ireland also eligible for a front row move for Sunday’s must-win Six Nations women’s game against Italy in Musgrave Park is ready.
rop Christy Haney is on the starting line for the first time when the Irish team is named on Friday. America’s Haney made her debut replacing Katie O’Dwyer early in the second half in last Saturday’s loss to France.
Djougang, who plays rugby with ASM Romagnat in France this season, played the full 80 minutes in Ireland’s first two defeats by Wales and France.
While the scrum against France came under intense pressure, Djougang made an impact in the loose.
“I think she has the potential to be one of the best in the world,” Sweeney said. “She’s amazing on the field. She’s played 80 minutes in the last two weeks, playing both sides of the scrum. I don’t know exactly where her ceiling is, but it’s very, very high.”
Co-Proper Haney qualified for Ireland through her Borrisokane-born grandmother and began playing rugby at St Mary’s RFC while studying for a Masters in Civil Engineering at UCD.
She captained Leinster in the Interpro series last year and could start on the front row alongside Neve Jones and Djoungang on Sunday.
“There’s something about being at home and in Cork that brings a boost and confidence. We’re back together, watching the tape and coming out of the third week in a row with a little more confidence,” says Haney.
“Obviously we have a lot of learnings to take from last week, but there’s also a lot of excitement this week to step up and follow up on the things we can do.”
Meanwhile, Sweeney says the door isn’t closed on a return to the national team for wasp hooker Cliodhna Moloney. There have been calls for the veteran Moloney to be brought back into the squad after Ireland’s problems at set pieces in this league.
Sweeney says they support the current players they have, particularly Jones, who started at the hooker.
“The door is obviously not closed on Cliodhna, she still comes up for conversation but I think if we look at what Neve Jones has done in the last two games I think she’s been outstanding and there’s no reason at the moment gives to drop Neve. ‘ adds Sweeney.
“She (Moloney) is never going to go away. Right now we support what we have. And again I have to double down and just say how well I think Neve Jones did it. She was outstanding. Her growth has been exponential since going to Gloucester and coming back. She really deserves to be there.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/linda-djougang-has-potential-to-be-one-of-best-in-world-rob-sweeney-41524662.html “Linda Djougang has the potential to be one of the best in the world” – Rob Sweeney