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'I’ll support Cliodhna, she’s my teammate' - Eddy's comments leave Ireland squad in difficult position

Ireland players Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Nichola Fryday were asked about Anthony Eddy’s recent interview during a team media event today.

Ireland winger Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.
Ireland winger Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe.
Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Updated Nov 10th 2021, 5:00 PM

COMMENTS MADE BY the IRFU’s director of women’s rugby Anthony Eddy earlier this week, and the subsequent fallout, naturally overshadowed a team media event today.

Eddy was criticised by past and present Ireland internationals following an interview in which he appeared to lay the blame for Ireland’s failure to qualify for the next Rugby World Cup at the players’ feet.

The most prominent voice to speak out was current Ireland hooker, Cliodhna Moloney.

On Twitter yesterday, Moloney retweeted a link to Eddy’s interview and wrote: “I could have sworn slurry spreading season was spring… I stand corrected”.

Today, her teammates Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe and Nichola Fryday were asked for their take on Eddy’s comments, and if the squad as a whole shared Moloney’s view.

While both players answered some difficult questions on a busy media call, they also understandably tried to move the focus onto Friday’s game against the USA at the RDS.

“I’ll support Cliodhna, she’s my teammate,” Murphy Crowe said.

“I’ll support all my teammates but that’s Cliodhna’s comment and for me personally throughout the next three days I’m solely focused on the game.”

“I can’t really comment on what Cliodhna has or hasn’t said,” Fryday added. “For us as a group, we’re very tight knit but we all have our individual thoughts on things. For me to comment on what Cliodhna has or hasn’t said, it’s not really my place.”

Second row Fryday did however add that players should be entitled to voice their opinion on such matters.

100%. I think we’re entitled to put across what we are feeling or what we think about things, that’s just the way life should be. We shouldn’t be afraid of saying anything. We have a right to say what we feel.”

Murphy Crowe, who only made her Ireland 15s debut earlier this year, was asked if she felt Eddy had blamed the players for Ireland’s failure to qualify for the World Cup. 

“I don’t see it as blame, I see it as a failure to qualify for the World Cup,” she said.

“We’ve got the IRFU’s side of it, the players’ side of it. There’s a review going on, and I think we leave that review there; let it go on. For this week, we have the game. Amanda [Bennett] will be in contact with us but, like that, she’s not contacting us in the middle of a prep for an autumn international.”

B39I0896 Canterbury, the official kit partner to Irish Rugby, has revealed the new Ireland Rugby jerseys that will be worn by the men’s and women’s team throughout the 2021/22 season.

That independent review, led by Amanda Bennett, into the failed 2021 Rugby World Cup qualifying campaign was announced by the IRFU on 20 October.

At the moment, the players do not have a date for when they will be asked to contribute to that review.

“I’m presuming it will be whenever the autumn series is finished,” Fryday said.

“All of the players involved in the squad, we all have thoughts and opinions so we have a right to share them with the review and that’s what we’ll be doing.”

Eddy’s interview has clearly provided an unwanted distraction ahead of two home games where the squad are looking to move on from the major disappointment of failing to secure World Cup qualification, Adam Griggs’ side losing to both Spain and Scotland at a qualifying tournament back in September.

Friday’s meeting with the USA is followed by another RDS date against Japan on Saturday week. They will be Griggs’ last two games in charge, with Greg McWilliams in place to take over as head coach following the November Tests.

“Distractions, they come and they go,” Murphy Crowe said.

“You just have to be able to deal with them, especially if you want to play international rugby. We just want to perform. 

We were so disheartened by Parma, we want to justify everything and show how good we are. We are so much better than what we showed in Parma and we just want to prove that to ourselves, to our families and the fans. That’s just really it.”

“For me, what happened in Parma was hugely disappointing,” Fryday added.


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“It’s something I would have been working for since the last World Cup. I didn’t get the opportunity to play in New Zealand and that was my sole focus, so to not achieve that, it was heartbreaking. We just have to regather and go again.

“I’m putting my trust in the independent review that is being done. There is no one thing that led to us not qualifying for the World Cup, so I’m putting my trust in the independent review, that we will feed into it, and that the other issues and factors that led to us not qualifying will come through that.

nichola-fryday Nichola Fryday said players should be allowed to voice their opinions. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“At the moment that’s all I really have to say because I’m trusting the independent review.”

Murphy Crowe was also asked if weeks like this one, where the focus has shifted onto matters outside the squads’ control, can make it challenging to prepare for an international game.

“Sometimes it can be difficult, I’m not going to lie,” the winger said.

“But I feel like when we come into that bubble and the team is around you, we are all focused on the one thing, which is Friday night’s game. That’s the key for this week. It helps you wipe out that noise and distraction and just focus on your sessions.  

“At the end of the day if you are not performing in training it can put doubts in your head for the game so we just want to be in check, ready to go, hitting the ground running on Friday evening.” 



About the author:

Ciarán Kennedy

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