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Training camps with France and Scotland can prove 'enormously valuable,' says Eddy

Adam Griggs’ side have just one Test match set for November.

Ireland stand for the anthems in their Six Nations match against Wales this year.
Ireland stand for the anthems in their Six Nations match against Wales this year.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

IRELAND DIRECTOR OF women’s rugby Anthony Eddy hopes the 15-a-side team will still get high-quality preparation work in over the next six weeks, despite being left with only one Test match on the November schedule.

The IRFU’s integrated season plan for the women’s game – designed to build towards World Cup qualifiers next September – had promised two November Test matches after Adam Griggs’ side went without summer fixtures. However, an opponents’ withdrawal has left Ireland with just Wales as a November Test challenge (10 November, UCD Bowl).

“Ideally, we wanted those two Tests. I did express my disappointment at being let down, but we’ve moved on from it,” Eddy said this week.

The absence of a second Test will likely bring increased focus on the planned training camp link-up with France and Scotland.

Now coached by former Ireland coach Philip Doyle, Scotland will go to South Africa this weekend for a two-Test series before November international clashes against Wales and Japan. The training camp with Ireland is set in between on 26 October.

“We’ll go to Scotland and train against the Scottish team, and then play the Scottish team as well. It’s not a Test match, but it’s still a high quality match. We’ll treat it as very important in their preparation.

“The week after we’ll go to Marcoussis, which is the high performance centre for the French national team… France are one of the top women’s teams in the world. Again, we have a number of days there at that facility to train with them while they’re preparing for Test matches and then to actually play against them as well.

“I think that’s enormously valuable to the whole programme and to the girls – to actually mix in that environment instead of training against ourselves all the time.

“We can do scrummaging and line-out, and back line play. Whatever else, against a team that we’re unfamiliar with. Then put that into practice in a game against them. It’s a great experience for them, it’s a great way to prepare a team.” 

“From Adam’s perspective as well. He’s looking it as a great way to prepare the team for that Wales Test match.”

Eddy was speaking as the men and women’s Sevens squads got kitted out at Elvery’s in Blanchardstown before the World Series kick-off, which for the women comes next weekend in Colorado.

Stan McDowell’s side fell to England in the quarter-final of the Olympic Qualification even in Kazan and will be hoping to show further improvement in the World Series this year.

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With the men reaching the top grade for the first time, some logistical matters will be simplified by having both senior teams on the World Series this year. However, Eddy’s thoughts are trained on the challenge posed by back-to-back tournaments such as the December legs in Dubai and Cape Town, and the Hamilton to Sydney turnaround at the end of January.

“(The women’s side) have got to get used to double legs, they’ve never gone weekend-on-weekend.

The boys have to get used to that (too). They’re more used to single tournaments. The double series and the travel between the series will be a challenge, but I think we’re a pretty adaptable bunch. We shouldn’t have too much trouble.”

“It’s great to have the women and the men away on those tournaments, he adds, “you’ve got  to separate the squads really. We can prepare while we’re here, but over there in competition mode there’ll be separate men and women’s stuff and the squads will be purely focused on what they want to achieve in that tournament.”

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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