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Eddy pleased with 'good crossover' as Sevens players step up for Ireland's Six Nations tilt

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Adam Griggs will be hoping his Ireland side can make a winning start to their Six Nations campaign against Wales on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Adam Griggs will be hoping his Ireland side can make a winning start to their Six Nations campaign against Wales on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

Adam Griggs

Adam Griggs

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Adam Griggs will be hoping his Ireland side can make a winning start to their Six Nations campaign against Wales on Saturday. Photo: Sportsfile

The Women’s Six Nations may occupy a new international window, but the ominous evidence from its first weekend merely confirmed that the door remains shut for the majority of its competitors.

England, the only fully professional outfit in the competition, and France, the only semi-professional squad, demolished their hapless opponents, piling on half-centuries against Scotland and Wales respectively.

This weekend, at least, the meetings of the have-nots from Wales and Ireland may engender some sense of competitive engagement for those watching on national television.

That the English and French afterwards openly declared dissatisfaction in their opening 2021 bows reflects the sense of detachment between the leading European duo and the rest.

While the big two, presumably, plough on towards a final, Ireland travel to Wales on the back of their most lengthy preparation ever, but without a real sense of how Adam Griggs’ side might perform.

For their hosts, an opening-day humbling has dampened the expectations engendered by their new coach Warren Abrahams.

The Welsh Union are, purportedly, engaged in the process of awarding contracts to their players but still they wait.

As the Irish experience has demonstrated, diffidence towards a professional approach only widens the gulf between those who invest fully in the game and those who do not.

With the professional Sevens game on hold, a pandemic has prompted Ireland into merging some of those players into the amateur arena and IRFU director of women’s rugby Anthony Eddy is awaiting their anticipated positive input ahead of the 2021 campaign.

“We’ve managed to have some internal trials, the old possibles versus probables, immersing some of the Sevens players as well, and they are now putting their hands up for selection,” he said.

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Eddy says there is a “good crossover” between the two squads, although this has not always necessarily been entirely welcomed by those who support the women’s game, particularly in the fraught build-up to Ireland’s humbling hosting of the 2017 World Cup.

Then again, needs must in a crisis, with the IRFU’s future financial commitment to the short-form game – never mind that of the fifteens version – remaining uncertain.

“There is a good crossover,” reveals Eddy, tasked somehow with developing a twin-track approach in increasingly straitened circumstances.

“I’ve always said we’re one programme and we’ve seen that with Hannah Tyrell, Clare Boles and Britney Hogan, and now Aimee Leigh Murphy-Crowe and Stacey Flood are competent players.

“Their skills are really good, now it’s about getting exposure.”


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