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IRFU says it's 'not policy to prevent any player from expressing their opinion'

Meanwhile, Ireland’s men’s team have not discussed the goings-on in women’s rugby.

Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney.
Ireland hooker Cliodhna Moloney.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

THE IRFU SAYS it’s not the organisation’s policy to prevent players from expressing their views on rugby matters following a report that performance director David Nucifora spoke to Ireland Women hooker Cliodhna Moloney this week.

Moloney expressed her frustration with comments made by IRFU director of women’s and 7s rugby Anthony Eddy this week, taking to social media on Tuesday to say, “I could have sworn slurry spreading season was spring… I stand corrected.”

Eddy gave a media briefing on Monday during which he made comments that have been perceived within the squad as laying blame at the feet of Ireland’s players for the recent failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup.

Moloney has since received support from many of her team-mates, including captain Ciara Griffin.

ScrumQueens, who cover women’s rugby, today reported that IRFU performance director David Nucifora had contacted Moloney to “take her to task” over the tweet this week.

“We understand that David Nucifora (Anthony Eddy’s boss) called Cliodhna Moloney earlier this week to take her to task on using Twitter to air her views,” wrote Scrumqueens.

“Given the avalanche of squad support now – looks like he’s got a lot of calls to make today.”

When asked whether Nucifora had contacted Moloney in such a manner, the IRFU opted against confirming or denying by responding with the following statement:

“Conversations between High Performance Unit management and players do occur often, on a variety of subjects. While it would be inappropriate for the IRFU to comment on individual conversations, it is not the IRFU’s policy to prevent any player from expressing their opinion.”

Meanwhile, Ireland centre Bundee Aki said that the men’s national team have not been discussing the goings-on in the Ireland women’s camp this week.

Andy Farrell’s side are preparing for a clash with New Zealand on Saturday and Aki said that the widespread coverage of the women’s game had not been talked about in their camp.

“No, we haven’t,” said Aki when asked if Ireland had discussed the subject.

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“We certainly are going to be supporting them this weekend against the USA in the RDS. I’ve coached women before and I’m certainly going to be watching with a lot of interest and wishing them all the best.”

Asked if players were aware of Moloney’s comment regarding Eddy, Aki indicated they weren’t.

“Nothing has been discussed, so I wouldn’t be able to know how to answer that.”

Ireland head coach Andy Farrell also wished the women’s side well against the US tomorrow.

“I certainly have a message of support: all the best from all the guys here,” said Farrell.

“We will be watching. As you know, protocols don’t allow us to get outside that much and mix but we wish them all the best against the USA.” 

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