Women’s Six Nations to remain unchanged

Plans to divide tournament into two separate tiers shelved after council meeting in Paris

Ireland's women, led by Joy Neville, Fiona Coghlan and Lynne Cantwell, celebrate their Six Nations Grand Slam after the win over Italy. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland's women, led by Joy Neville, Fiona Coghlan and Lynne Cantwell, celebrate their Six Nations Grand Slam after the win over Italy. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

 

Plans to restructure the women’s Six Nations, splitting the championship into separate entities, have been shelved after a meeting of the Six Nations council in Paris this morning.

The proposed plans would have seen the countries divided into two tiers, ending any chance of another Grand Slam being achieved by any country. Ireland’s women completed a clean sweep of the tournament last month.

However, the council have decided to maintain the present system, with a statement this morning explaining: “Further to recent press speculations regarding the Women’s Six Nations Championship, the Six Nations Council today confirmed its continued support for the present format.”

It is believed Scotland and Wales were in favour of a change to the system, joining Italy in the second tier, while France, England and Ireland would have been in tier one.

The proposals were not supported by the Irish team, with coach Philip Doyle and Grand Slam winning captain Fiona Coghlan voicing their opposition to the idea. “It would not be ideal,” Doyle told the Irish Times recently. “For the good of the fifteens game I don’t think the Six Nations should be broken up into two sections.”

“As a player, you want to play the best teams in the world and see where you stand against them.,” Coghlan added. “I understand some of the unions are concerned about the score-lines but you only get better by playing better opposition.

"Ten years ago we were on the receiving end of numerous hammerings but we learned from those and we got stronger."