Women's Six Nations 2024: Co-captain Sam Monaghan fit to return for Ireland against Italy

Ireland defence coach Declan Danaher says that co-captain Sam Monaghan is fit to return for the second Women's Six Nations game against Italy.

Monaghan missed the 38-17 loss against France as she was following the return to play protocols for concussion.

She is in line to return for the game at the RDS, as Ireland look to build on a much-improved display in Le Mans.

"Sam's good to go, she's passed all her relevant protocols she's needed to do," he said.

"She's training and it's good to be working with her. She's an important part of our team in terms of lineout, so she's good to go.

"Off the back of the weekend, in what was a pretty physical encounter, the girls were all battered and bruised, but they're all good to go."

Danaher, who joined as defence coach ahead of this campaign was pleased with aspects of Ireland's display against France, but still believes there is room for improvement.

Ireland host an Italian side that were defeated 48-0 by England last weekend. They did manage to inflict a 24-7 defeat on Ireland in last year's tournament and Danaher is wary of their threat from the lineout.

"The positives for me are the effort, the work rate and the intent we showed [against France].

"We've had a good look at ourselves and what we can control better, things like stopping driving tries and little thing around system when we're under pressure," he explained.

"We know Italy will come potentially with a [lineout] drive as well so we have to be ready for that."

Danaher keen for 'all-round' Irish performance

The former London Irish coach is delighted with the progress Ireland have made so far in a short space of time and with the application of the players to the tactics being implemented.

"I'm only here six or seven week but I've seen a massive step up from the first week I was here. I can see the progress that's happening.

"You can see it at training, we want and Scott [head coach Scott Bemand] wants training to be incredibly competitive. We know if we can compete at training and drive the standards there, you probably then start to see performances like you did at the weekend.

"There's still a long way to go," he admitted.

"It's all marrying up the different areas so that we get an all-round performance that you can put out at the weekend that you're proud of and I would love for us to be all-round at the weekend."