The fall out from Fi Thomas' article in the Telegraph, and the fallout in Irish women's rugby in general, continued today with ill-advised comments from Ireland head coach Greg Williams.
When questioned by reporters on Thomas' words - which accused the IRFU of misogyny among other things - McWilliams, during a long answer, described his players as being like daughters of his.
Players come in here and we treat them with the utmost respect. Without getting too corny, I'm kinda like their dad and they're my daughters.
While McWilliams may have been attempting to describe a 'family' like situation in camp, or the care he has for the players, the comments came across as patriarchal and unprofessional - a tone which is certainly not needed given how poorly the male dominated IRFU has ran the women's game over the last decade.
Fi Thomas responded critically to McWilliams, as did many others on social media, including Gloucester and Ireland player Ciara Cooney (Cooney is not currently in the Irish squad):
This is upsetting on a number of levels, but mostly because it shows a total lack of respect for players as individuals and equals. Players are worthy of being treated as professionals when they give the level of effort and dedication that these players do.
Irish Women's Head Coach Greg McWilliams Under Fire
This is upsetting on a number of levels, but mostly because it shows a total lack of respect for players as individuals and equals. Players are worthy of being treated as professionals when they give the level of effort and dedication that these players do. https://t.co/zyjyr4rLyb
— Ciara Cooney 🇺🇦 (@CooneyCiara) April 14, 2023
Wait, is this for real??! Nothing screams patriarchy more than a male head coach of a national women's side saying: "I'm their dad and they're my daughters"
This is getting plain embarrassing for the IRFU now https://t.co/sMPuS2J5sG pic.twitter.com/mX9roFt3C0
— Fi Tomas (@fi_tomas_) April 14, 2023
"Without getting too corny, I'm kinda like their dad and they're my daughters".
What sort of patriarchal, creepy and unprofessional muck is this? They're your colleagues. You're their boss. Treat them as equals, not children.
This made my skin crawl. https://t.co/NhAEzmGNHn
— IrishWomensRugbySupportersClub (@IrishWomens) April 14, 2023
READ HERE: Emotional Nichola Fyday Interview Highlights The Poor State Of Irish Women's Rugby
McWilliams also questioned the timing of Thomas' article, given that Ireland face Italy in the Six Nations tomorrow, and he wondered why it could not have released at a later date.
"I'd question the timing of the article. I'd question the fact that it's coming out now two days before we play a game when it could have come out in December or it could have come out last summer. So I'm not quite sure why it was done the way it was done.
Given the IRFU's defensive attitude to most of the backlash or complaints from women involved in the Irish game, McWilliams' response is wholly disappointing.