A World Cup on home soil did not go well for Ireland and now it's a case of going back to basics, says former international Fiona Coughlan as the women's side aim to bounce back in the upcoming Six Nations.

That campaign kicks off with a game away to France on Saturday next, live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player from 7.30pm. Coughlan admits the French and England are the standard bearers in the competition and that it will be tough for the Irish to lower their colours in the weeks ahead.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Against the Head, she said: "We have bridged the gap in the past. We have to be clever around our players and the pathway that they take in the next four years.

"A lot of work must be done on the ground to get more players coming through to improve the systems. I still think it will be a tough task.

"England, for example, are pushing so far on with their Premiership. They took away their professional players and put the money back into the Premiership. We'll see a whole host of English players coming through at a different level."

Obviously, Coughlan is hoping for a fresh start at the weekend, adding that "the World Cup has to be parked now and this squad needs to move on."

She went on to say that the games at home to Italy, Scotland and Wales must be the target.

"The style that Adam Griggs wants to play is more free-flowing," she explained. "Obviously we need to front up in the pack and that will be a tough task away to France this weekend, they have a big marauding pack and they will have a partisan crowd behind them.

"I think the three home games needs to be Ireland's focus. We have never beaten France or England away from home."