IRFU deny downgrading Women's head coach role but 'regrets any upset it has caused' following 'confusion'
The IRFU have responded after a backlash to the Irish Women's head coaching position being offered on a six-month, part-time basis, saying that following a strategic review that will appoint a new coach, 'full-time if necessary'.
Tom Tierney left the job after the recent Women's Rugby World Cup on home soil, with the part-time vacancy publicised earlier this week. A host of players said that it was setback for the women's game in Ireland, with Jenny Murphy calling it a 'kick in the teeth for players'.
The IRFU have today released a statement 'to address the confusion that has arisen regarding the coaching position' and say that a full-time appointment could still be made.
The IRFU also say that it 'regrets any upset that it has caused.'
"Contrary to recent comment, the IRFU has not downgraded the coaching role in relation to the Ireland Women's team," the statement says.
"While the outgoing coach was employed on a full-time basis, he was, as confirmed in the announcement of his appointment in December 2014, a shared resource across the Women's XVs and Sevens programmes. He was not exclusively employed as a full-time Ireland Women's XVs coach.
"The IRFU confirms that it is in the process of reviewing the entire structure of the women's game in order to develop the next long-term strategy as we build to the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, and beyond.
"Based on the experience of the most recent structure, which saw the sharing of time between the Women's XVs and Sevens programmes, the IRFU is seeking to appoint a coach on an interim basis, to work exclusively with the Ireland Women's XV team, until the end of the 2018 Women's Six Nations. As confirmed already, this coaching position will be re-examined fully after the tournament, as part of the wider IRFU review.
"At a recent press conference in Dublin, Performance Director, David Nucifora spoke of the need to examine the women's game from grassroots level up. This will ensure appropriate levels of competition in the domestic game, and foster the development of players with international potential.
"The Women's programme has received a significant increase in investment in recent years, with a full-time Director of Rugby and a full-time Women's programme manager as well as back-room resources such as strength and conditioning, physio and nutrition professionals.
"The person who takes on the Ireland Women's XVs team coaching role will work with, and report into, the Director of Rugby.
"It is important that, on conclusion of the on-going review, the IRFU is in a position to appoint staff, including a head coach, full-time if necessary, who can deliver to the long-term strategy identified."
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