Full independent report into Ireland's failure to qualify for World Cup will not be published 1 year ago

Full independent report into Ireland's failure to qualify for World Cup will not be published

The vow was made by the Irish Rugby Football Union, late last year, but the full report will not be published.

Following the failure of Ireland Women to reach the World Cup, an independent report was commissioned to look into the reasons why, and other improvements that could be made in and around the national side.


The report, led by Amanda Bennett of FairPlay Ltd., has come back now and 30 recommendations have been approved, with many of them already in process. They include top-line changes like the appointment of a Head of Women’s Performance and Pathways, a full-time Women’s XVs National Team Programme Manager and an additional €1 million in funding  [taking the total of money invested up to €4m.

One of the sticking points, when the report was first mentioned last year, was that several senior players wanted the report to be released in full. However, an IRFU release today states:

'Following discussions with FairPlay Ltd. and the IRFU’s external legal counsel, the IRFU was unequivocally advised that publication of the full report could be seen as a breach of confidentiality for those who participated in it. This view is understood by the players’ representatives who are satisfied the requests they made throughout discussions have been met.'

Gemma Crowley, who was team manager with the British & Irish Lions, is coming on-board as the new National Team Programme Manager, while Greg McWilliams [head coach] and Niamh Briggs [assistant coach] have already come in with the 15s team. On Thursday, it was confirmed that Anthony Eddy, the Director of Sevens and Women’s Rugby, was stepping down from that role.


Kevin Potts, the IRFU's new chief executive, issued an apology to the Ireland players about how they had not received all the backing and support that they deserved.

"Going forward," he stated about the players, "if they felt they were not being listened to, they are now."

Cliodhna Moloney

Absence of Cliodhna Moloney from the latest Ireland squad


Potts was also asked about Wasps and Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney not being in the 38-player squad. Moloney is not injured and is one of the country's top players, and her absence from the squad is somewhat surprising.

"The simple answer is Greg McWilliams has selected his squad, he has selected it on form. I guess he will answer those questions in due course."

Potts added that Moloney was 'absolutely not' left out of the squad for voicing her concerns in the past. "I can absolutely guarantee, that is not the case," he declared.

Given advance notice that the report's release was coming out at 1:15pm today, there was a statement released in response to the IRFU by a four-person 'Players Representatives' group [made up of Moloney, Lindsay Peat, Claire Molloy and former Ireland captain Ciara Criffin]. It reads:


'We welcome the publication of a comprehensive set of recommendations today following the Rugby World Cup Qualifier Independent Review. This is in line with the request made by the players during the review process and we are pleased that the recommendations have been accepted in full by the IRFU.

'While they clearly highlight the many challenges surrounding the national 15s programme in Ireland, we believe that these recommendations and their implementation have the potential to make a significant and positive difference for women’s rugby in Ireland. As a group, we have been meeting regularly in recent months with the IRFU and Sport Ireland.

'Kevin Potts has taken a proactive and inclusive approach to these discussions and has taken considerable time to understand the issues and demonstrate his commitment to resolving them. This has been extremely welcome, and we want to thank him for his leadership.

'Today's announcement by the IRFU is a welcome first step on a journey towards a new era for Irish women's rugby, but it is a vitally important one.

'We are committed to further collaboration including ahead of the publication of another crucial review later this year which is looking at the overall game across the country.

'Together, the changes that emerge as a result of all of this work, alongside renewed commitment in women’s rugby right from the top of the IRFU, means we can look to the future with greater confidence than ever before.'

Ireland kick off the 2022 TikTok Women's Six Nations on March 26 with a home tie against Wales, at The RDS.