Adam Griggs says new out-half Stacey Flood will add some flair to the Irish backline when they take on Italy in Donnybrook on Saturday.

The Railway Union player gets her first start on her third cap after replacing Hannah Tyrrell in the number 10 shirt.

"If you look at the last few games that she came on, she's added some real flair to the backline," said head coach Griggs of the Sevens international.

"I think it’s a good opportunity for her to lead the team throughout this week.

"In that position it’s not just what you do on game day, it’s what you do in training, in our captain’s run and how we want to move the team around and how we can put Italy under pressure.

"It’s a good opportunity for her finish the Six Nations as a starter and see how she leads the team."

Ireland beat Italy 21-7 last October and while they suffered a 67-3 loss to England in their opening game, they qualified for tomorrow’s third-place play-off thanks to an impressive away win over Scotland last weekend.

New Zealander Griggs says the visitors have made great strides.

"I definitely think they’ve improved," he said.

"They didn’t have a lot of time together before October and now they’ve had plenty of training together so they’ve got clarity on what they want to do. They look like they are cohesive.

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"They've got a group of players who have over 50 caps so they are experienced players and they know how to work their way around a game.

"It’s important that we put pressure on them from the start and we maintain that.

"We felt the first 10 minutes against France was really good and then we tailed off a little bit and after they got some tries we sat back and we just can't afford to do that."

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