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'I don't think Philip Doyle was integral to Ireland' | Fiona Steed

The Irish women’s rugby team begin their Six Nations campaign with the visit of Scotland on Sun...

The Irish women’s rugby team begin their Six Nations campaign with the visit of Scotland on Sunday with the added intrigue of former head coach Philip Doyle and his comments on the state of the game here. 

Last year Philip Doyle expressed worries that he felt the 15s set up in Ireland was being dismantled.

Speaking on OTB Rugby, Fiona Steed explained that although Doyle was a positive influence on women’s rugby in Ireland, she didn’t consider him integral to previous successes.

“I don’t think he was integral, it was all about him. But he certainly was a huge influence over Irish women’s rugby going back the years.

“I first had interaction with Philip going back to 1998 when he stepped in to do a job with us for the World Cup and then again in 2004.

“He’s always been there and he’s always had a really positive influence. I don’t think, ‘oh they didn’t keep him so it all fell apart,’” the former Ireland captain said.

Despite the departure of the Philip Doyle from the Ireland fold after the 2014 World Cup, Steed believes that building blocks are now in place for the team to prosper in the future.

“What I would say is that it’s taken us as a nation, and perhaps the IRFU, a lot of time to get up to the pace of what they need to be doing in terms of supporting high performance.

“There’s an awful lot of work that’s going on in the grassroots, the AIL has been restructured along with the inter-pros to make sure they have better quality games against better quality opposition earlier in the season.

“And it’s just going to take time but I think the building blocks are in place,” she said.

Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney thinks that the presence of Doyle will have no impact on their performance.

"It’s more about us and how we perform and what we have available to us.

"But it is going to be a big game, there’s no denying that, for whatever reason people want to have but we need to win," she said.

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Cliodhna Moloney Fiona Steed Ireland Philip Doyle Rugby Scotland