Ireland coach Adam Griggs has insisted that women’s rugby in the country has strong models in place as he rowed back on his comments earlier this week surrounding the organisational structures in place in the sport.
Griggs said he was put "put on the spot" in a press conference earlier this week and was unable to say who was responsible for the women’s game in the IRFU, but he sought to clarify his stance at today’s press briefing.
But Griggs also dropped a bombshell and confirmed that he had dropped 72-times capped Claire Molloy from the squad for the play-off with the Italians at Energia Park, one of three changes he has made to the starting line-up.
“I fielded a question on Tuesday just around the domestic game and who was in charge. On reflection I probably wasn’t as clear as I could have been,” said Griggs.
“I think it is important to acknowledge the work that Collie McEntee (IRFU Rugby Development Director, Amanda Greensmith (Women's Development Manager) and the domestic game in running our pathway and also our interprovincial series. Hopefully that can clear up some of the comments that were made.
“I think I probably got put on the spot a little bit and I didn’t want to come across that we were putting it [the 56-15 loss to France] on to any one person.
“As I stated, it’s the whole organisation running this thing. Obviously, there is different departments that will take care of different parts of the organisation. It was just something that I though at the time, on the spot I probably wasn’t as clear as I could have been.
“The questions are understandable, and as I stated, I think what we have in place at the moment is a really good model; it’s a good structure.
“Obviously there is still more work to be done in terms of growing the game, getting the numbers up. That leads to the competitiveness of the top end of the game. I think it was an important thing to clarify.” Following on from last weekend’s disappointing defeat to France, Griggs has made three changes to his side for the visit of Italy this Saturday.
There is no place in the match-day squad for former captain Molloy, while out half Stacey Flood, replaces Hannah Tyrrell at out-half, and Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe comes in for her first start on the right wing.
According to Griggs, Molloy is not injured, and she has given some time to work on some aspects of her game.
“No, Claire Molloy is not injured. So we had a conversation with Claire earlier on in the week, just around some of the performances. She has got things that she can still work on at the moment,” said Griggs.
“Around those players coming into the starting side, in the last six months we have talked about the depth of this side and building competition. I wouldn’t be true to my word if we weren’t giving some of these other players a shot.”
Eimear Considine, Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe, Eve Higgins, Sene Naoupu, Beibhinn Parsons, Stacey Flood, Kathryn Dane; Lindsay Peat, Cliodhna Moloney, Linda Djougang, Aoife McDermott, Nichola Fryday, Dorothy Wall, Brittany Hogan, Ciara Griffin (captain).