Adam Griggs will step down as Ireland women's head coach after the November internationals, with the IRFU confirming today that former assistant coach Greg McWIlliams will take over for the next World Cup cycle.
ndependent.ie understands that Griggs informed the squad of his decision at a virtual meeting on Wednesday night and the IRFU, who today confirmed that former Wales international Amanda Bennett is conducting a review into the failure to reach the 2021 World Cup, have moved quickly to secure the services of the well-regarded McWilliams.
Griggs will see out his contract by coaching the side against Japan and the United States next month before handing over the reins to the new man who most recently served as an assistant to Gary Gold at the US Eagles men’s side while also coaching Rugby United New York in American Major League and acting as a Technical Advisor to Yale University.
He returned to Dublin this year, taking a job as a consultant to World Rugby but is now set to begin a four-year term in December.
Defeats to Spain and Scotland at a qualification competition in Italy put paid to the team's dreams of reaching the tournament and Griggs informed IRFU performance director David Nucifora and head of Women's and Sevens Rugby Anthony Eddy of his decision to quit in the wake of that disappointment.
McWilliams was assistant coach to Philip Doyle when Ireland won the 2013 Grand Slam and reached the 2014 World Cup semi-final with a famous win over New Zealand along the way.
The finer details of his deal are yet to be revealed, but it is expected that McWilliams will also work with the Sevens programme on a day-to-day basis and could have a broader remit when it comes to aligning the women's game.
McWilliams has a big job on his hands, with a number of senior players understood to be considering their future after missing out on the World Cup.
Commenting on today's announcement, IRFU Director of Women's and Sevens Rugby, Anthony Eddy, said: "I would like to thank Adam for his commitment and dedication to the position. Although there was disappointment with the outcome of the World Cup qualification, the squad has developed under his direction and players have been identified and developed to a stage where now the incoming coach, Greg McWilliams, has a good squad to work with for the future."
McWilliams' initial focus will be preparing the squad for the 2022 Six Nations which will be the qualifying platform for the new World XVs tournament due to kick off in 2023.
Griggs will move into the position of IRFU Provincial Talent Coach for Leinster, focusing on Talent ID and Player Development across both the Men's and Women's game.
He said: "It has been an enjoyable and challenging period. It was bitterly disappointing to exit the World Cup qualification as we did, however, I believe the group can take pride in their personal growth and development as rugby players.
"Personally, I will take plenty of learning from this experience which I look forward to implementing in the future. I would like to thank the players and support staff for their unwavering commitment to the green jersey and I look forward to watching a talented group grow into world class players under Greg's tutelage."
Ahead of commencing his new role, McWilliams commented: "It’s such an exciting time for women's sport globally. There is a terrific energy building and I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of that journey, continuing on from the great work paved by Adam and his staff. I’m most looking forward to meeting the staff at the IRFU High Performance Centre, the players and their families.
"In the meantime, USA and Japan travel to Dublin in a few weeks. It’s a brilliant challenge for the squad against two quality teams. Think of how powerful two strong performances would be for our players against top opposition. It would be massive for momentum as we begin the next World Cup cycle."