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Highlights on Off The Ball


This is an indictment of the system - Wednesday Night Rugby on Ireland's loss to Wales

Ireland's structure is still the problem with the women's national team.

Irish journalist Ruaidhri O'Connor joined Wednesday Night Rugby to discuss the Ireland women's team's loss to Wales.

Ireland lost 31-5 to Wales on Saturday.

It was an inexperienced Ireland side in their first Six Nations game, but the result and performance was still shocking. Ireland had comfortably beaten Wales as recently as two seasons ago. But Wales have since turned professional while Ireland were without many of their best players.

The physicality, organization and technique that the Wales players showed off meant they were a far superior outfit to Ireland on the day.

While the players need to perform better than they did, the real problem remains the system that supports them. Ruaidhri O'Connor explained that the IRFU shouldn't be allowed to rest on their laurels and point to winning the Grand Slam with the men's side.

"Every organization is only as strong as its weakest link," O'Connor said.

"And the IRFU can't just bask in the glory of the men's Six Nations success. This is an indictment on the system that the men are this good and the women are down here. It can't be allowed to be sustainable.

"They are investing resources and money in it, but it's got to be smart as well. They've got to be seeing this as a major, major issue. But it's very hard to catch up, because everyone else is investing and everyone else is [improving]. We've seen Wales in two years go from being hammered by Ireland to being hammered by Ireland.

"It's a difficult, difficult job and it's a difficult place for these players to be. I feel sorry for a lot of them because there's no experience in that dressing room."

Ireland face France in the second round this weekend.

James Ryan is integral for Ireland - Keith Wood.


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