Adam Griggs says Ireland have a ‘good structure’ in place
Women’s head coach wouldn’t answer when asked why no players were put up for interview
Ireland head coach Adam Griggs speaks to his team. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Irish head coach Adam Griggs has named the people responsible for running the domestic club game in Ireland.
“I fielded a question on Tuesday around the domestic game and who was in charge,” said Griggs about a press conference when he was unable to name a single person running the domestic game despite it supplying most of the talent for the senior squad.
“On reflection, I probably wasn’t as clear as I could have been so I feel it is important to acknowledge the work that Collie McEntee [director of rugby development] and Amanda Greensmith [women’s development manager] and the domestic game do in running our pathways and also our interprovincial series so hopefully that can clear up some of the comments that were made.”
Griggs stated that he was “put on the spot” by two questions. “I know that we are running it as a body but you are looking for names and I am unable to give you names of who is running it,” he said last Tuesday.
“The questions are understandable,” Griggs added on Thursday. “What we have in place is a really good model and a good structure. There is more work to be done in terms of growing the game, get the numbers up which will improve the competitiveness at the top level of the game.
“It was important to make that clarification.”
However, when Griggs was asked why no Irish players were up for interview on the week of a Six Nations match against Italy, not even captain Ciara Griffin, the national head coach since 2018 refused to speak.
The IRFU media officer intervened to state that Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney, earlier this week, did a “sponsored gig in association with the IRFU so that is where our player focus lies this week.”
When Griggs, who is a professional coach, was asked for his thoughts on raising the profile of a sport without using the athletes to do so, at such a crucial juncture for the women’s game in Ireland, again, refused to speak.
“I don’t think Adam should answer a question like that,” said the media officer. “That is part of our media strategy this week.”
Griggs was able to confirm that Claire Molloy, Ireland’s most experienced player, has been dropped from the squad to face Italy in the third-place play-off at Energia Park (kick-off 12pm, live on RTÉ).
Molloy was the last link to the 2013 Grand Slam team that also reached the 2014 World Cup semi-final.
“Claire has things she can still work on at the moment. Around players coming into the starting side, we have talked about building depth and improving competition.
“I wouldn’t be true to my word if we are not giving the other players a shot.”
Ulster’s Brittany Hogan comes into the team at openside instead of Molloy with Railway Union’s promising flanker Grace Moore set to be capped off the bench.
Stacey Flood wears number 10 - she excelled as the outhalf replacement during last week’s 56-15 defeat to France - so Hannah Tyrrell must make way.
The third change to Griggs’ starting XV has Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe on the right wing instead of Lauren Delany while Harlequins prop Leah Lyons and Malone’s Neve Jones replace Emma Hooban and Katie O’Dwyer as frontrow cover.
Ireland: Eimear Considine (UL Bohemian/Munster)(17 caps); Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (Railway Union/Munster)(1), Eve Higgins (Railway Union/Leinster)(2), Sene Naoupu (Old Belvedere/ Leinster)(40), Beibhinn Parsons (Ballinasloe/Blackrock College/Connacht)(10); Stacey Flood (Railway Union/Leinster)(2), Kathryn Dane (Old Belvedere/Ulster)(12); Lindsay Peat (Railway Union/Leinster)(33), Cliodhna Moloney (Wasps/IQ Rugby)(25), Linda Djougang (Old Belvedere/Leinster)(11); Aoife McDermott (Railway Union/Leinster)(15), Nichola Fryday (Blackrock College/Connacht)(17); Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College/ Munster)(6), Brittany Hogan (DCU/Old Belvedere/Ulster)(3), Ciara Griffin (Captain)(UL Bohemian/Munster)(35).
Replacements: Neve Jones (Malone/Ulster)(2), Laura Feely (Blackrock College/Connacht)(18), Leah Lyons (Harlequins/IQ Rugby)(25), Grace Moore (Railway Union/IQ Rugby)*, Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College/Leinster)(4), Emily Lane (Blackrock College/Munster)(2), Hannah Tyrrell (Old Belvedere/Leinster)(19), Enya Breen (UL Bohemian/Munster)(5).