Saturday's Women's Six Nations match against Italy will be a milestone for Ireland back-row Dorothy Wall.

The Tipperary native has been involved off the bench in the early parts of the tournament - pre-Covid-19 lockdown - but has now graduated to a starting spot where she will be joined at the base of the pack by experienced figures in the shape of Claire Molloy and captain Ciara Griffin.

Given it will be her first senior international showing from the opening whistle, Wall is delighted to avail of that duo's know-how as Ireland look to secure a 100% home record in this season's truncated Six Nations campaign.

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"What I lack in experience they make up in abundance. I feel very safe in the back three. They're wise heads so I'm looking forward to playing with them," said the 20-year-old, adding that she hopes to be a bit of a leech in picking up knowledge from her colleagues.

"I'm really excited. I was delighted to get my first cap in February and we've kind of been building since then.

"It's great to start but not much changes from my perspective in terms of my prep and things, but I'm very excited."

Wall celebrating the win over Scotland with Aoife McDermott (lef)

While rugby is very much to the fore now as a fully fledged international, her entry into the sport followed schooldays making strides on basketball courts.

"I started playing basketball in school on the midlands team and I was on a bit of a development Irish squad as well," said Wall. 

"I hurt myself but yeah that was my main love for four years and then played a season of rugby with Munster underage with Enya Breen and Emily Lane and came back and got fouled off in first game so figured I should stick to the rugby."

And it took a little bit of convincing of her "biggest fan" - her father - before making the switch: "My brothers always played and my Dad was afraid I was going to get hurt, and then one year I said, 'Look Dad, I'll be grand, I'll get a good gum shield and fire away.'"

Like Ireland team-mate Linda Djougang, Wall has been doing a placement in the medical field - St Vincent's Hospital in her case - which means she has been similarly at the frontlines as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm based in Dublin and I'm in placement in a hospital so I'm very much aware of the Covid situation. Being in a hospital, it's very regimented what has to be done in order for everyone to be protected," she said.

"We're thoroughly briefed on everything in the IRFU as well, so there's no aspect of my life that isn't very much aware of the Covid situation."

Follow Ireland v Italy (3.30pm Saturday) with our live blog on RTÉ Sport Online and the RTÉ News app or listen to live commentary on Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1. 

Follow Ireland v Italy in the Women's Six Nations (6.30pm) live on RTÉ2 and on RTÉ Radio 1 Extra.