Highlights on Off The Ball

07:00 PM-12:00 AM

Highlights on Off The Ball


"There needs to be an enquiry" | Irish rugby legends weigh in on inter-pro changing room controversy

Former Ireland internationals Niamh Briggs, Fiona Coghlan and Alison Miller joined Joe Molloy to ...

Former Ireland internationals Niamh Briggs, Fiona Coghlan and Alison Miller joined Joe Molloy to discuss the weekend's interprovincial fixtures on Off The Ball.

Ireland's shock loss to Spain on the field should have been the biggest story of the week. It likely ended their chances of making the next world cup. Instead, a bigger problem during the interprovincial games at the weekend emerged.

The IRFU and Leinster issued an apology to Connacht and Ulster after failing to provide acceptable changing rooms.

Women's rugby is not considered elite sport so the players could not have access to the regular dressing rooms. The Connacht players shared footage of them changing next to a bin, surrounded by debris. There were even rats in sight.

The range of health and safety issues that could arise from this scenario required an apology in itself but the lack of respect for women's rugby was also evident.

Fiona Coghlan questioned the designation of the game not being classified as a test event which would have allowed the players access to the dressing rooms.

"There's a lack of clear communication from the government down to the IRFU down to the players,” Coghlan said.

Timing has been pointed to as the reason for the situation but that timing only became an issue because of the lack of organization.

“I don't think anyone purposely goes out to shaft the women's rugby players, but the fact there's not someone there to make sure it all goes to plan...surely you should know what time teams are coming at, there should be a liaison person there.

Whoever is running the event should know what time teams are arriving.”

Niamh Briggs echoed Coghlan's questions about women's rugby not being considered elite.

“It's hugely frustrating that we're sitting here talking about something off the pitch when really after the weekend I just want to be talking about the brilliant rugby that was on it," Briggs said.

"It was a really poor look for sure. There are so many questions to be asked and not all are answered. I can't understand why these players were not considered elite status when GAA players were allowed to use the dressing rooms in Croke Park.

That for me is the biggest question mark over this.

It looked's just so disappointing. It's disappointing in that we seem to be taking a step forward with TG4 and Vodafone and then taking a step back in relation to facilities.”

“There should be some sort of enquiry in relation to it.”

During the previous week's game, the Leinster players had set up in an area close by. This suggests that this was a known problem. Alison Miller couldn't understand how those in charge didn't foresee this becoming a problem since every player now has access to social media.

“Who stood over that and said 'That's fine. Nothing will happen with this,'" Miller said.

I just don't think it's good enough to say that the team arrived looked horrific, it really looked bad and for someone to stand over that and say that's okay and not predict what was going to happen would happen.”

Women’s inter-pros | Facilities and fixtures | Shock World Cup loss | Briggs, Coghlan & Miller

Vodafone. Proud sponsor of the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Changing Facilities Interprovincials Irish Rugby Rugby Women's Rugby