Saturday 18 January 2020

Irish Women lose global ground

Sene Naoupu
Sene Naoupu

The Women's Rugby Super Series will take place in San Diego over the next two weeks.

It includes the Top-5 nations in the world in a round-robin format with Ireland on the outside enviously looking in.

It isn't just the likes of New Zealand, England, France, Canada and the hosts USA who need greater exposure to top-tier international rugby.

Sene Naoupu nimbly side-stepped the issue of Ireland's Women losing ground to their Six Nations rivals in recent seasons and, by extension, to those further afield.

"We are lucky to have a Six Nations every year," said the Irish centre.

"The work that we've been doing with the rugby ethics commission - World Rugby and the International Rugby Players - was that teams in the southern hemisphere were crying out for games.

"If anything, it's great that the likes of New Zealand are getting more international games.

"Overall, it balances out, to have a global calendar would be key," she said.

"We would love to have more games. Those teams are playing those games because they earned the right to play in them."

This means making a marked improvement from their fifth-place finish in the Six Nations, in which they could only bag one win in five rounds.

It all starts with broadening the base of players and a hike in the standards of the Inter-provincials, beginning in August

"For now, we can focus on a really strong domestic competition, make sure our interpros are nice and strong," said Naoupu.

"Once we improve performances there and get better buy-in from communities and the likes of yourself even [media], when we start performing and winning games we might earn the right to play more international fixtures."

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