Friday 20 September 2019

Everything must be looked at - Spence

Ireland's Sophie Spence. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Sophie Spence. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The dust has settled on the Ireland women's miserable home World Cup and as the IRFU currently wade their way through the review process, the search for a new head coach goes on.

Conflicting views about why the campaign unravelled so badly remain but ultimately Tom Tierney's reign ended on a sour note.

The women's game in this country is at a crucial juncture and the next 12 months will tell a lot about what direction it is heading in.

The All-Ireland League is in desperate need of a rethink and while Sophie Spence agrees, the Ireland lock believes that an U-20 team should be introduced to help with the transition to senior rugby.


Ruth O'Reilly certainly wasn't shy in voicing her opinion about the failings from the top down but Spence finds herself caught between two stools as she is asked for her view.

It's much easier to be outspoken when you have hung up your boots so understandably Spence doesn't want to rock the boat too much in her assessment of what went wrong in August.

"There were probably a number of things," Spence said.

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"You look at us and think, 'were we really cohesive enough?'

"In terms of the game-plan, we ended up doing a lot of pick-and-gos, which was a result of things not working out for us, which was a different dynamic to the way we were training.

"I suppose what the opposition were bringing, we had to change our game-plan to try and get a winning result again, the two matches that we did win were hard-fought wins and scrappy."

'Scrappy' is an understatement. Ireland never showed what they were capable of and for the several players who retired, that regret will linger for a while yet.

"For us, it was that tumbleweed moment when things started unfolding and unravelling," Spence continued.

"I think it comes down to the environment, as players and not just as management. We do have a responsibility and a job to do and go out and do that.

"Everything has to be looked at from what our training programme was to how we performed and how individually we were.

"Were we fit enough? Were we eating the right foods and were we performing in the way we should have been? Personally I don't think I performed to the way I wanted to.

"For me now it's what can I do and what can I input to make sure we can move forward from this and get the structures right."



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