Rugby

IRFU Reject RTÉ Proposal To Give Ireland Women's Rugby Prime-Time Slot

IRFU Reject RTÉ Proposal To Give Ireland Women's Rugby Prime-Time Slot

The IRFU have rejected the opportunity to schedule the Six Nations matches of the Ireland women's team alongside the men's U-20s or senior side.

Responding to requests from RTÉ, it was decided that the change from a Sunday to a Friday or Saturday would negatively impact upon the working commitments of their amateur players.

Speaking to the Irish Times, RTÉ's head of sport Ryle Nugent discussed the partial nature of the explanation the IRFU provided:

We requested that home games are played as double-headers on Friday nights with the under-20s but that option was declined. ... Friday nights do not work, we were told, as they are amateur players and are going to struggle with taking time off work.

Our second option was to broadcast the games live on Saturday nights in prime time and that was also declined.

We were just told Saturday nights wouldn't work.

According to a spokesperson within the IRFU, bringing the game back from a Sunday to Saturday would cause unnecessary 'disruption to players' work and study schedules.'

Questions will be asked however why the IRFU did not consider the benefits of offering their amateur players the opportunity of a day's extra rest and recovery before returning to work - in most cases - on Monday morning.

In the furore surrounding Ireland's seemingly failed bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup, one could be forgiven for overlooking the fact that earlier this year Ireland did play host to the women's equivalent.

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Amid some initial excitement at the prospect of a home victory on the world's stage, expectations were quickly tempered after a heavy defeat to France in Ireland's third group game; the tournament was all but over for the home contingent.

Women's Rugby, it appeared, had spurned its chance at capturing a degree of attention reserved for their male counterparts.

In reality, the subsequent revelations surrounding inadequate managerial and administrative preparation for the team's benefit have skewed the notion that the teams merely failed to deliver on it's promise.

The IRFU's post-tournament process in acquiring a new managerial set up for the women's side was similarly troubling.

While this latest decision admittedly had the best interests of the players at heart, it will unquestionably be seen as yet another opportunity missed in terms of promoting the women's game to a broader range of people.

See Also: How "Training Smarter" Has Turned Former "Next Big Thing" Andrew Conway's Career Around

Arthur James O'Dea

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