IRFU to publish findings of review into women’s game

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The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has announced their intention to fully publish the results of two independent reviews into the women’s game in Ireland after players requested government support.

An analysis into the flaws of the team’s failure to reach the 2022 World Cup in New Zealand is currently being done as well as a “broader structural review”.

Change of mind

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne had previously said that the findings would not be made public.

But that decision has now been reversed, with the governing body insisting it is “committed to the development of the women’s game”.

Earlier this week, a host of current and former internationals were among the signatories on a letter sent to the Irish Government expressing a loss of trust and confidence in the IRFU.

The letter requested government assistance in enacting “meaningful change” in the women’s game in Ireland.

The IRFU will now seek to meet a delegation from the women’s group early next year, while board members hope to meet Sport Minister Jack Chambers next week.

“The IRFU confirms that it intends to fully publish the two independent reviews currently being undertaken into women’s rugby,” read a statement on Friday.

“The IRFU wishes to assure all those devoted to rugby, including the players who issued the recent letter to Government ministers, that the situation that developed, particularly in the last week, is regrettable and we will work tirelessly to mend and build the relationship between the Union and our players.

“We are committed to the development of the women’s game, from grassroots to elite level, to provide the opportunity for girls and women to enjoy lifelong participation in rugby.”

Recently-retired captain Ciara Griffin and former players Claire Molloy, Lynne Cantwell, Grace Davitt and Jenny Murphy were among the signatories of the government letter.

The two reviews are being carried out by FairPlay Ltd, with the investigation into the unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign expected to be completed in January, followed by the wider review “in the first quarter of 2022”.

Last month, comments from the IRFU’s women’s director Anthony Eddy drew criticism after he seemed to blame players for the World Cup failure.

He said: “The team was well prepared. I know the girls themselves are disappointed not to have qualified and disappointed in their performances.”

Hooker Cliodhna Moloney likened Eddy’s comments to “slurry spreading” and received widespread support from team-mates.

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