Three days after the IRFU advertised for the role of the Ireland women's team head coach - on 'a 6-month contract, on a part-time basis' - the Union has moved to clarify the situation.
Many were angered by the possibility that the head coach would be a part-time role. After a disastrous World Cup with Ireland acting as hosts, the employment of a head coach on a part-time basis was viewed as not being the route towards improvement.
In a statement issued on Friday afternoon, it was said that the IRFU has not downgraded the role to part-time. Though Tom Tierney was employed on a full-time basis, his role covered both the Women's XVs team and Sevens team.
The new coach will be employed on an interim basis to work with just the XVs team. Following next year's Six Nations, the position will be further reviewed.
The IRFU wishes to address the confusion that has arisen in recent days regarding the coaching position for the Ireland Women's team. The IRFU regrets any upset that it has caused.
Contrary to recent comment, the IRFU has not downgraded the coaching role in relation to the Ireland Women's team. While the outgoing coach was employed on a full-time basis, he was, as confirmed in the announcement of his appointment in December 2014 a shared resource across the Women's XVs and Sevens programmes. He was not exclusively employed as a full-time Ireland Women's XVs coach.
The IRFU confirms that it is in the process of reviewing the entire structure of the women's game in order to develop the next long-term strategy as we build to the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, and beyond.
Based on the experience of the most recent structure, which saw the sharing of time between the Women's XVs and Sevens programmes, the IRFU is seeking to appoint a coach on an interim basis, to work exclusively with the Ireland Women's XVs team, until the end of the 2018 Women's Six Nations. As confirmed already, this coaching position will be re-examined fully after the tournament, as part of the wider IRFU review.
At a press conference in Dublin in September, Performance Director, David Nucifora spoke of the need to examine the women's game from grassroots level up. This will ensure appropriate levels of competition in the domestic game, and foster the development of players with international potential.
The Women's programme has received a significant increase in investment in recent years, with a full-time Director of Rugby and a full-time Women's programme manager as well as back-room resources such as strength and conditioning, physio and nutrition professionals.
The person who takes on the Ireland Women's XVs team coaching role will work with, and report into, the Director of Rugby.
It is important that, on conclusion of the on-going review, the IRFU is in a position to appoint staff, including a head coach, full-time if necessary, who can deliver to the long-term strategy identified.