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IRFU issues statement amid scathing criticism from Cliodhna Moloney as Murphy brands women’s chief Eddy ‘spineless’

Union insists independent review into Ireland's failed Women's Rugby World Cup qualifying campaign is ongoing

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Cliodhna Moloney has had her say on Anthony Eddy's comments

Cliodhna Moloney has had her say on Anthony Eddy's comments

Jenny Murphy during her Ireland days

Jenny Murphy during her Ireland days

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Cliodhna Moloney has had her say on Anthony Eddy's comments

The pressure is mounting on the IRFU's director of women's and sevens rugby Anthony Eddy after his public comments yesterday, with current Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney issuing a withering critique on social media from within the team's camp.

Eddy spoke to the media yesterday about Ireland's failure to qualify for the World Cup and his comments have been met with a strong reaction online, with former international Jenny Murphy describing him as being "spineless".

It is understood that the interview has caused considerable disquiet within the squad, with Eddy pinning the blame on the players and defending the systems and structures within the game.

The Australian also denied that the Sevens game is given priority over the XVs game.

Moloney is the first current player to speak out critically about the union's handling of the women's game, taking to Twitter to quote a comment from the prominent 'Scrum Queens' website about the interview and saying 'I could have sworn slurry spreading season was spring… I stand corrected'.

Former internationals Grace Davitt and Ruth O'Reilly were also critical of Eddy's comments, while Murphy was scathing in her critique.

"Spineless. I honestly wish I was more surprised at this take from Eddy but I'm not," she wrote on Twitter.

"Is this the voice of someone who cares about the women's game in this country? "Utterly deflating and I can only imagine what current players are feeling."

Eddy's explanation for the failure to qualify laid the blame at the players' feet.

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“They were well prepared. Knowing what the other programmes did, I think that our squad and our programme was actually a lot more advanced than what the other unions did," he said.

“We were training and still operating through lockdowns and everything else because of what we put in place for them to try and qualify.

"I think the group probably put unnecessary… possibly because of the false starts, possibly because of the expectations, the group may have put a lot of pressure on themselves around the actual performances. And that could have affected the way they actually played.

"Hindsight is a wonderful thing... if that (Ireland) group turned around and played those teams on any other day, they’d get the results that they wanted.

“It was unfortunate to lose two games on full time with unfortunate errors that cost them two games they probably shouldn’t have lost. That’s probably it at the moment.”

The IRFU are currently reviewing the team's performance at the World Cup qualifying tournament, while there is also a second review into the overall structures of the women's game.

Head coach Adam Griggs will take charge of the matches against the United States and Japan before Greg McWilliams takes over.

Last week, Ireland scrum-half Kathryn Dane said players must take more responsibility for the failure.

"I personally feel that’s a bit of a cop-out on our behalf, that we’re not taking enough accountability for it all,” Dane said.

“Behind closed doors, as players, we have done our debrief. We have acknowledged our mistakes and we are keen to take responsibility.

“Because as you say, we were at the wheel in Italy. And a lot of those mistakes that were made, it was up to us to adapt and change our plans.

“So I do feel bad that Griggsy has taken an awful lot of the heat. But as players we are taking that responsibility. I know there hasn’t been anything public about that but behind closed doors we have.”

Asked for a comment on Moloney and Murphy's assertions, an IRFU spokesperson issued the following statement: "The IRFU has appointed an independent consultant, Amanda Bennett, to conduct an independent review into the preparation, participation and performance of the Ireland Women's XV during the recent RWC 2021 qualifying campaign.

"The review is taking place at a time when players and coaches are available to media to promote upcoming games.

"We do not believe it would be appropriate to ask media to refrain from asking questions on any topic, and in recent days Anthony Eddy and a player (Kathryn Dane) have fielded question in relation to the RWCQ.

"Over the course of the next two weeks of matches it is inevitable that further questions will be put to coaches and players during media opportunities.

"Stakeholders will have an opportunity to provide feedback to Amanda and her team but while the review is on-going it would be inappropriate for the IRFU to comment further."


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