Former Ireland international and RTÉ Rugby analyst Fiona Steed expects to see Ireland make a winning start to their World Cup campaign when they take on Australia this evening.

Ireland open the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup when they take on the Aussies in the UCD Bowl this evening in a game that’s live on RTÉ Television, RTÉ Radio on online at rte.ie.

The host nation will have little room for error, as they seek to guarantee progress to the semi-finals in Belfast by topping Pool C, but Steed is confident they can get the result they need this evening.

"It’s a huge day for women’s rugby in the country and women’s sport in the country," she told RTÉ Sport. "We’re bringing a World Cup to Ireland and it’s going to be here in Dublin and in Belfast.

"It’s fantastic for those of us who have struggled through the years and in more recent times as well so fair play to the IRFU.

"I think it’ll be tough enough for Ireland because it’s the first game and they have to get over the nerves and all of that but I really hope that Ireland will run out comfortable winners.

"Australia only have about five games played since the last World Cup but they have a lot of pace. They have three of the Olympic gold-medal winner Sevens playing.

"Outside of that their pack isn't great and shouldn't be up to Ireland’s standard that we saw in the Six Nations."

Ireland will have to face Australia without captain Niamh Briggs has been ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Briggs had recovered from a hamstring injury which forced her to miss the Six Nations but in a major set-back, she suffered an injury to her Achilles tendon in training.

 Louise Galvin was been called into the squad as replacement and while Steed has huge sympathy for the Irish skipper, she believes the side can cope with her absence.

"People can compensate for the missing of a person and the missing of a captain and in fact Ireland didn’t have her for the Six Nations so in a way it was a good test run for them

"But for herself, that’s who I feel for in all of this. She has dedicated the last three years of her life to be here and to play and perform so it’s really her I’m thinking about today.

"After that we just have to get on with it and she will be supporting Ireland and the team."

Ireland (v Australia): 15 Hannah Tyrrell, 14 Eimear Considine, 13 Jenny Murphy, 12 Sene Naoupu, 11 Alison Miller, 10 Nora Stapleton, 9 Larissa Muldoon; 1 Lindsay Peat, 2 Cliodhna Moloney, 3 Ailis Egan, 4 Paula Fitzpatrick, 5 Marie-Louise Reilly, 6 Ashleigh Baxter, 7 Claire Molloy (capt), 8 Heather O'Brien

Replacements: 16 Leah Lyons, 17 Ruth O'Reilly, 18 Ciara O'Connor, 19 Sophie Spence, 20 Ciara Griffin, 21 Nicole Cronin, 22 Katie Fitzhenry, 23 Mairead Coyne

Australia: 1 Liz Patu, 2 Cheyenne Campbell, 3 Hilisha Samoa, 4 Chloe Butler, 5 Millie Boyle, 6 Mollie Gray, 7 Shannon Parry (capt), 8 Grace Hamilton; 9 Katrina Barker, 10 Trilleen Pomare, 11 Mahalia Murphy, 12 Sharni Williams, 13 Kayla Sauvao, 14 Nareta Marsters, 15 Samantha Treherne

Replacements: 16 Emily Robinson, 17 Violeta Tupuola, 18 Hana Ngaha, 19 Rebecca Clough, 20 Alisha Hewett, 21 Fenella Hake, 22 Sarah Riordan, 23 Ashleigh Hewson

FIXTURES

Ireland v Australia, UCD Bowl, 7pm, Wednesday 9 August,

Ireland v Japan, UCD Bowl, 5.15pm, Sunday 13 August

Ireland v France, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm, Thursday 17 August

Watch all of Ireland's games live on RTÉ Sport and the RTÉ Player (ROI only), listen live on 2fm and follow live blogs on RTÉ Sport Online and the News Now app.