'I find watching the game arduous' - Former Ireland international in controversial rant about women's rugby
Former Ireland international David Corkery has posted an extremely controversial message on Facebook claiming that women shouldn't play rugby due to the physicality of the sport.
Corkery's admission comes as Ireland prepares to host the Women's Rugby World Cup at UCD later today with Tom Tierney's side taking on Australia at 7pm.
The game has come on leaps and bounds in Ireland in recent years with Ireland qualifying for the semi-final of the last World Cup (beating New Zealand along the way), winning the Grand Slam in 2013 and the Six Nations Championship ion 2015.
In a lengthy Facebook message today, 44-year-old Corkery stated that he didn't enjoy watching the women's game and claimed that 'God' didn't create women to be 'smashed in a tackle'.
He wrote: "Way back in 1823 when the William Webb Ellis picked up a soccer ball and ran with it during a school football match, I doubt very much that he would have envisaged where his actions would have led.
"Not only has the male version of rugby union grown into the global beast as you see today, it has now also attracted the interest of the opposite sex and despite the lack of a solid playing infrastructure and decent playing numbers, Women’s rugby seems to be moving in the right direction.
"Personally, I find watching the women’s game complicated and arduous to watch.
"I think we all partly watch rugby because of the physical battles it produces. The big hits, the powerful runs, the struggle at the scrum and so on, however I simply do not like watching ladies knocking lumps out of each other, and before any women’s pro right campaigners start circling the wagons and looking to burn me at the stake, this is only an opinion.
"Ladies boxing and ladies MMA are two other sports that I really find hard to view but it is not up to me to tell people what they should and shouldn’t do with their bodies."
He added: "Maybe I’m just getting old but when I see women partake in any kind of confrontational and aggressive behaviourisms, it just doesn’t sit right with me.
"When god (if there is one) created women, he didn’t do so with the intention for them to be smashed in a tackle or punched in the face. Come to think of it, he probably didn’t design man for that purpose either!
"Anyhow, I have absolutely nothing against women in sport, in fact I think the sporting world would be a very dull and monochrome place if we didn’t have their participation, but it’s just the physicality of rugby and hand to hand combat of boxing that bothers me.
"I also think the ladies game lacks the same kind of entertainment value that the men’s version offers albeit, there are some male games where you would be better off watching the grass grow in your front lawn such are the ridged restrictions placed on today’s players by their coaches.
"The British and Irish Lion’s tour which has just passed was a breath of fresh air and even though the Lion’s were extremely lucky to have drawn the series, it has left a very positive and evolutionary vibe on where the game needs to go in terms of pace and skill. Hollywood could not have written the conclusion to Warren Gatlands little expedition to his native land and this is what keeps the money rolling in. I just wonder will the public be as excited about women’s rugby when this tournament concludes?"
Corkery claimed that the women's game would need massive investment to take it to the next level but this was not going to happen, as far as he is concerned.
Do you agree or disagree with David Corkery?
"I fully realise that the women’s game is still very much in its infancy in terms of growth in this country and that in order for it to develop and flourish there needs to be a major increase in funding from the various governing unions. Unfortunately, this is something that is not going to happen anytime soon because of the ever-increasing running costs that are associated with the men’s professional game.
"The professional game has already severely tarnished the amateur club game in this country and unless the women’s code can generate a massive surge in support, funding and most importantly television viewing figures, it is highly unlikely that the IRFU will put in place a progressive grass roots system that will allow females obtain the skills they need.
"At this stage, it is imperative to remind people that accountants now run the game in most countries and unless teams, be they male or female, can generate surplice revenue, they will be viewed as unwanted baggage.
"Regrettably the game is now a business.
"In terms of effort and sacrifice there is no one who can question the commitment that the women who will represent Ireland for the duration of the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup have given.
"In terms of monetary reward for the players it will only be trivial however, they will always be able to boast for wearing their country’s colours on a world stage.
"To play in a World Cup of any description is something that very few will have the distinction of doing so and these girls should be very proud of what they are about to achieve, irrespective of how they finish up."
He finished by saying that he would not be going to see any of the games but would stay on top of the progress of the Irish team.
"I will not be attending any of the games but I will watch Ireland’s progress with intrigue and I wish Tom and his girls all the very best.
"Who knows I might even be converted and start to enjoy the ladies adaptation of the game?
"But I doubt it!"
His post has been garnering a very mixed reaction on social media.