Ireland must focus on getting results from their home fixtures in the Women's Six Nations, according to retired international Ruth O'Reilly.

Adam Griggs' side face two difficult away assignments during the campaign, the first of which takes place tomorrow Saturday when they face France in their Six Nations opener at the Stade Ernest Wallon [Kick-Off, 8pm].

The second of these challenges is fixed for the final round of the championship, when reigning Grand Slam champions and World Cup runners-up England welcome Ireland to the Ricoh Arena.

But in between those two tricky encounters, Ireland will have three consecutive home ties in Donnybrook with Italy, Wales and Scotland providing the opposition.

Ireland prevailed in four out of their five Six Nations games last year, before suffering a 7-34 loss to England in the Grand Slam decider. France lost out to Ireland in that competition, but they managed to reverse that result in the World Cup with a 16-point victory in Dublin.

Ruth O'Reilly called time on her international career last year, towards the end of Ireland's disappointing World Cup, and she believes that securing wins in each of the home ties should be the primary target for Ireland.

Ruth O'Reilly believes Ireland should target their Donnybrook fixtures

"Griggs and his charges really need to focus on the home games. There's absolutely no expectation or pressure on them. I think they will have set themselves that target at the very least of taking those three home games.

"In terms of France and England, being away fixtures makes it hugely challenging.

"They have to focus on getting good performances away, so that they can have confidence in knowing for the return fixtures next year that there's glimpses of hope and things to build on. But absolutely, Scotland, Italy (and) Wales at home, 100% they need to be delivering big performances against them."

On the surface, the Ireland team appear to have undergone significant changes in personnel. Griggs is the newly appointed head coach who has succeeded Tom Tierney, while flanker Ciara Griffin is the new team captain.

The squad suffered a raft of retirements in the aftermath of the World Cup, with experienced lock Sophie Spence hanging up her boots in December after being omitted from the Six Nations squad. The experienced centre Jenny Murphy has elected to take a year out from rugby to pursue other sports.

Former captain Niamh Briggs was felled by injuries on a few crucial occasions last year, and was forced to miss out on the World Cup due to an Achilles problem. She appears to have regained her fitness, and is switching from her regular full-back spot to the out-half post for the French test tomorrow, a position she has played in before.

Elsewhere in the starting team, Megan Williams will take her place on the win to earn her first starting cap with the 15's. O'Reilly is excited to see how Williams will adapt to this format of rugby, having previously plied her trade with the sevens team.

Megan Williams

"A lot of us will be familiar with her, from having been involved in the sevens team for the last number of seasons," says O'Reilly.

"So, there's no doubting the acceleration the pace and acceleration that she possesses. It'll be interesting in terms of physicality, whether that can be matched primarily in defence when you've got some heavy French artillery coming at you."

O'Reilly agrees that there is a newness about the group, but she also points out that some aspects of the set-up remain unchanged as Ireland look to begin the post-World Cup era.

"I wouldn't say there has been a huge change. The head coach has changed so that's a fundamental change, but obviously Anthony Eddy (Irish director of women's sevens rugby) is still the key person and with whom the book still stops in respect to women's rugby. So that hasn't changed.

"Also the strength and conditioning coach is still the same, Edward Slattery, so he continues on from his role which he had during the World Cup and prior to that. The support team in terms of the IRFU management of the team also remains the same.

"Adam Griggs is a new face in the green blazer, but there's a lot of continuity there both from the management structure and also in the number of key experienced players as well that are included in the squad.

"I don't think it's fair to say it's completely fresh, but it is nice to see there is some freshening up of the player personnel."

Watch live coverage of France v Ireland in the Women’s Six Nations on Saturday evening from 7.30pm on RTÉ 2