Ciara Griffin says Ireland are desperate to inspire the next generation of rugby players when they end a long wait for World Cup 2021 European qualifiers later today.

Griffin will captain the Irish against Spain at Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, Parma, for the first game of a four-team tournament.

The winner of the tournament will automatically advance to the World Cup, which has been delayed until next year due to Covid-19.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport ahead of the match, Griffin said the players had watched the Women's Interprovincial Championship clash between Munster and Leinster on Saturday night, a televised fixture that gave crucial exposure to the sport.

Now Ireland are aiming to play their part in continuing to raise the profile of the women's game as they chase their World Cup dream.

"We were in the team room watching the inter-pros on the big screen," Griffin said.

"Even though we're In Italy we felt part of it. We had the songs going, Stand Up And Fight was going around the team room. It's great that it was on TV.

"That's what's going to help develop the grassroots because you need to be able to see it. For girls to see you can wear the red of Munster, the green of Connacht, the white of Ulster, the blue of Leinster – the option is there and that can lead you to a green jersey.

"That is a motivating factor... you want to be role models for players coming up through the ranks, boys and girls. You want to put your best foot forward to show them how it's done and how it can be done, that hard work does pay off.

We need your consent to load this YouTube contentWe use YouTube to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences

Just five places separate the four teams in the world rankings so Ireland are braced for three tight, demanding games.

"Everyone is just really excited about it," Griffin added. "There's no room for complacency. You've got to bring everything you can to every game.

"We know Spain have some very good sevens and 15s players integrated together. They look to play expansive rugby so it's up to us to counteract that in our defensive systems.

"We've been waiting 18 months for this. We want to go out there and do a job, start the competition right, the way we want to start it and the way we want to finish it."