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'Upset' Connacht players call for investigation into conditions at women's interpros

In a statement released today, the players say they ‘sincerely hope something like this will never happen again, for any team’.

The matches took place at Energia Park.
The matches took place at Energia Park.
Image: Brian Reilly-Troy/INPHO

PLAYERS OF THE Connacht women’s team have called for an investigation into the sub-standard facilities they were forced to use last weekend. 

Energia Park in Donnybrook hosted a double-header of interprovincial matches on Saturday, and later that night videos circulated on social media showing the Connacht team’s pre-match base located beside bins in a derelict area.

Both the IRFU and Leinster Rugby apologised for the “unacceptable error” the following day, but the Connacht players have today released a statement requesting a review. 

“We are very disappointed and upset by the facilities that were provided for us to change both pre and post-match and for our post-match meal,” the statement reads. “The location was not suitable for the purpose.

“We pride ourselves on representing Connacht Rugby in a professional manner both on and off the pitch. We did our best to perform on the day, despite this situation, but these circumstances were far from the standards we would expect for this level of our sport.

“We acknowledge the apology issued by the IRFU and Leinster Rugby earlier this week. We sincerely hope that something like this will never happen again, for any team.

We would request that a review of the decision-making process which led to these circumstances be conducted and our hope is that more thought will go into decisions like this for the women’s game in the future.

“We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the support we have received from Connacht Rugby this season. We are all working together to improve women’s rugby in the province and throughout Ireland.

“We believe that every province is doing the same. Great progress has been made this season with all the women’s interpro games televised by TG4, and Vodafone coming on board as a sponsor of the series is a massive step in the right direction. However, the circumstances on Saturday highlight there is still much work to be done.

“More young girls got to see women’s rugby on TG4 over the last three weeks and hopefully we have inspired them to take up the game and fall in love with the sport that we love.”

Speaking at today’s launch of the new United Rugby Championship season at the Aviva Stadium, Leinster and Ireland centre Garry Ringrose voiced his own disappointment with the situation. 

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“I saw a video of it on Instagram and it is obviously pretty ridiculous and there was clearly a massive mix (sic), but I can’t imagine it is a mistake that should ever be made again.

“I don’t really know the ins and outs of it other than that it was a massive mistake and one that shouldn’t have happened but one that, as I said, shouldn’t happen again.”

Updated at 5.57pm to include Garry Ringrose quotes. Additional reporting by Ciarán Kennedy. 

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