RTÉ ‘investigating’ possibility of televising Ireland women’s decider in Scotland
Events at Twickenham could have bearing as Irish and French battle for title
Ireland wing Alison Miller: “It was always going to be a time when other players stepped up.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.
Both senior Irish teams can clinch the championship this weekend but only the women are honing in on a second triple crown in three years.
There are no rights restrictions but it appears incumbent on RTÉ to generate its own outside broadcast signal, at its own cost, as it did for the Grand Slam decider in Parabiago, Italy, in 2013.
The IRFU is equally amenable to a live broadcast of the game with clarity from the SRU expected on Wednesday.
Clyde FC, the usual residents at Broadwood stadium, halfway between Edinburgh and Glasgow, have a home fixture in Scottish League 2 which could be a potential barrier.
Like their male counterparts, events at Twickenham will impact on the title aspirations of Niamh Briggs’s team. However, the Irish women will know exactly what needs to be done following the female version of Le Crunch on Saturday night at 7.20pm.
The hope for Ireland is that England, as world champions and showcasing their sport at headquarters, will select several of their better players lost to the Sevens circuit as there’s no tournament this weekend. France, following the shock 17-12 defeat to Italy, could do something similar as they seek to retain their title.
Scotland have been terrible this season, losing all four matches, to accumulate a minus 130-point differential. They have scored two tries and conceded 25, so Ireland are expected to haul in a 20- or even 30-point advantage should the French beat England by a narrow margin.
Ireland’s 20-0 defeat of Wales on Sunday was further evidence that Tom Tierney’s coaching ticket, assisted by Anthony Eddy, the head of Ireland’s high performance Sevens squad, has brought an effective coaching structure.
The Ireland Sevens squad did not qualify for the main circuit but are touring Canada after the Six Nations. In the meantime, last year’s 15-a-side world cup semi-finalists are returning to similar high standards.
“A whole new management team came in this year with very little time,” said Ireland wing Ali Miller. “That’s always the way with Six Nations prep. They are getting to know us and we are getting to know them. They’ve got their own style, which is great, and it’s working for the team.”
Miller has history with scoring important tries for her country. It was the Laois winger’s finish against New Zealand last August that played such a crucial role in Ireland essentially removing the defending champions from the world cup. She was at it again in Swansea, her breakaway try from halfway, securing Ireland’s third win of the campaign.
Last month’s gutsy 10-5 loss to France in Ashbourne denied them a second-ever Grand Slam but the other victories are a remarkable achievement considering the retirements last year of captain Fiona Coghlan, vice captain Lynne Cantwell and Grace Davitt.
“It was always going to be a time when other players stepped up,” Miller, who is also part of the Sevens squad, added. “It comes in waves.”
Incessant wave upon wave.