The IRFU have admitted that the postponement of this year’s Women’s World Cup is a bitter blow.
Ireland’s World Cup dream is set to be put on hold after World Rugby announced that they are to recommend that the tournament be put on hold due to issues arising from the pandemic.
The latest development will come as a devastating setback to the Ireland squad, who were due to play in a qualifying tournament in the coming weeks.
The 2021 World Cup was to be held in New Zealand later this year; however, a decision will be formally made next week to postpone the tournament until next year.
Although New Zealand has had a firm grip over Covid-19, the country has been dealing with a rising number of cases recently, which has seen Auckland shut down for the second time in a month.
Women’s rugby has already been decimated by the pandemic as the Six Nations was unable to take place in its regular slot due to the largely amateur status of the players.
A revamped, shortened version is due to be held next month, but the loss of the World Cup to this year’s calendar is a major blow for all concerned.
“We’re obviously disappointed,” said the IRFU’s director of women’s rugby, Anthony Eddy.
“We want to play rugby. The Rugby World Cup deserves every opportunity to showcase the best that our sport has to offer and that’s not possible in the Covid-19 environment.
“We have always put player welfare at the heart of everything we do and that’s never been as important as it has over the past 12 months. We were preparing really well and that will stand to us. We’ll maintain that focus into the 2021 Women’s Six Nations.”