Adam Griggs says it's important that more experienced players help out his new out-half as Ireland bid to qualify for next year’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

The team kick off a round-robin tournament in Italy against Spain on Monday.

They also play the hosts and Scotland with the table-toppers at the end of three games earning an automatic place in the RWC.

Stacey Flood is in pole position to take the number 10 shirt after Hannah Tyrrell’s surprise retirement after the Six Nations last spring.

Out-half has been a problem position for the side ever since Griggs took over in 2018.

Niamh Briggs, Nicole Fowley, Ellen Murphy, Claire Keohane, Tyrrell and Flood have all seen competitive action in the shirt in that time.

Tyrrell’s player of the match performance against Wales in April, as well as Flood’s performance against Italy, in just her third international appearance, suggested that the duo could at last give Griggs the options the team required.

A switch back to Gaelic football took Tyrrell out of the equation and left Griggs to go back to the drawing board.

The uncapped Lucy Mulhall, Ireland 7s captain, has been called-up, while Enya Breen could also step in.

"I wouldn’t say the 10 jersey is cursed but there’s certainly been a few players through it in my time," said Griggs.

"Stacey has had a really good Six Nations.

"In that last game she’s player of the match. She’s a player that controls the game quite well and demands the respect of those around her with her skillset. We are looking for her to keep pushing on in that position.

"Stacey’s put her hand up in the absence of Hannah.

"What we need are the players around her that have done really well, that are settled and understand the game plan to help bring it along.

"Kathryn Dane (below) at 9 is an important player for this group, the way she steers the team.

"When you add a combination, whether it’s Stacey or Lucy or Enya, the players around here, like Sene Naoupu at 12 is a real cornerstone of the team, it’s just about that player going in and doing their job well and the players around will help them adapt to the game plan.

"We’ve got good options there."

Mulhall is one of three uncapped players in the squad with Leinster’s Mary Healy called up in place of the injured Hannah O’Connor.

The other new face is former Meath footballer Sam Monaghan, who plays her club rugby with Wasps in the Premiership, and came through the IQ (Irish-qualified) system.

New Zealander Griggs says she has adapted well to the squad.

"She’s a really dynamic second row," he told RTÉ Sport of the 21-year-old South Africa-born forward.

"She's got a GAA background as well. She started off in rugby quite late but she’s worked her way through over in England and came through some junior clubs to Wasps.

"The coaching team there have done a great job and showed her some of the higher details that you need at this level and she’s embraced it.

"She’s a really strong athlete that with that bit of details will do some real damage to opposition."

RWC 2021 Europe Qualifier schedule

Monday, 13 September

Scotland v Italy (2pm Irish time)

Spain v Ireland (5pm)

Sunday, 19 September

Italy v Ireland (2pm)

Spain v Scotland (5pm)

Saturday, 25 September

Italy v Spain (2pm)

Ireland v Scotland (5pm)