Thursday 25 April 2019

Outclassed women need level playing field - Griggs

Ireland women’s coach Adam Griggs. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland women’s coach Adam Griggs. Photo: Sportsfile

Alex Bywater

Adam Griggs called on World Rugby to look at the balance of the Women's Six Nations Championship as the Ireland head coach reflected on a disappointing campaign.

Griggs saw his team finish fifth of six teams in the 2019 tournament after winning only one of their five matches (against a very poor Scotland team).

Ireland signed off with an underwhelming 24-5 defeat to Wales in Cardiff as England, whose players are fully professional, won the Grand Slam.

Griggs admitted the Red Rose are streets ahead of the rest, adding: "England went and won the championship 80-0 (against Scotland) and I think that has got to be looked at by World Rugby more than just ourselves.

"Our players will now go back to club rugby in Ireland and that's just not the same level as the English Premiership or French Championship.

"That's where we struggle in terms of getting high quality games week in, week out. Then you come into a tournament like the Six Nations. We had a lot of tired bodies against Wales and just couldn't get up for the game."


Asked how World Rugby or the Six Nations could ensure a more level playing field between the fully professional and part-time teams, Griggs added: "You tell me. I don't have the answers.

"England have technically been fully professional since January and they'll have a full year together before the next Six Nations comes around. That's a daunting thought.

"But we've got to keep battling, make sure we keep challenging each other in camp and we need as many high-profile games as we can get to learn."

Ireland dominated the opening quarter against Wales and finally made their pressure count as teenage wing Beibhinn Parsons opened the scoring. After that, though, they failed to score a point.

Ireland's forwards were under constant pressure, their backs lacked flair and they made too many errors as Wales showed a clinical edge with their best performance of the campaign.

"We had plenty of ball and a lot of possession but we didn't really do a lot with it. We struggled to get line breaks and the Welsh defence was very good," added Griggs as he reflected on Ireland's first defeat to Wales in the Six Nations since 2011.

"We've looked at some of the statistics and we've scored more tries in the championship this year than we did last. The attack side of things is improving - it's defence which is the big work on for us.

"We've got a young squad and that's where we're struggling at the moment. We missed too many tackles."

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