This petition is an attempt to hold the IRFU accountable for their inexcusable unequal treatment of the women's rugby game. The IRFU's inaction and cynical approach is not only frustrating for supporters and players but damaging to the women's game.
Those who are reading this may be unaware of the achievements of the women's team in recent years. The womens' rugby team are currently ranked 7th in the world, and have finished 3rd in their last three Six Nation campaigns, a remarkable achievement given the lack of funding directed towards the women's game. The girls who give up their time to represent Ireland at the International level must balance full-time jobs whilst training every day.
A recent letter to the Irish Times by Jeannette Feighery, a former international, highlighted the recent forthcoming of the IRFU in relation to the womens Six Nation campaign and the inexcusable fiasco surrounding the 'outrageous logistical planning' for their match in Pau.
The IRFU may answer this criticism by highlighting the improvements made in developing women's rugby in the past 5 years. It can't be denied that the game has made solid progress in improving the standards at club and international level however, when compared to the efforts of other Six Nations associations we fall down considerably. The preparation of the ladies' team for this year's Six Nation tournament consisted of four weekends of training in January, in comparison, the English team played five autumn international matches combined with intense training since November.
However, the most tragic illustration of the IRFU's lack of interest in the ladies' game is their disorganization in entering a sevens team in the European Championships this summer. This may have far reaching implications, as the 2016 Olympics will be the first year women's sevens will be entered as a sport. The current standard of women's rugby indicates that a medal could be on the cards if an Irish team were to be entered. However, no effort has been made by the IRFU towards developing or entering a team.
There is no doubt that without such dedicated ensemble of coaches and players we would not have an international women's team that represent and perform at such a high standard. This petition is requesting that the IRFU start giving equal opportunity to the women's game as is given to the mens and as Jeannette Feighery wrote, to stop 'depriving them of developing to the standards they are capable of' .
If you agree with, and wish to support this petition please sign your name below. This will be emailed to the IRFU before the end of March 2012.
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Irish Women's Rugby
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Letter to the Irish Times
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