Cliona Foley on the Women's Rugby World Cup: "There's a tendency sometimes in women's sport to be overly positive"

She joined the Off the Ball Sunday Paper Review

Cliona Foley on the Women's Rugby World Cup: "There's a tendency sometimes in women's sport to be overly positive"

Ireland's Larissa Muldoon celebrates scoring. Image: ©INPHO/Bryan Keane

Cliona Foley and Mick Foley joined Joe Molloy for Off the Ball's Sunday Paper Review to look back at the big talking points from the week.

The Women's Rugby World Cup kicked off in Dublin last week where the Irish team got off to a winning start against Australia.

However the standard of kicking came up for discussion and Cliona Foley, referencing an article by Brendan Fanning in the Sunday Independent, said: "I particularly like this piece. There's a tendency sometimes in women's sport to be overly positive about it and not to be critical enough I think. 

"If you ask the athletes themselves they're perfectly happy for people to be critical but I think sometimes people are sometimes kind of dancing around it and not sure.

"I was out there for the first round matches this week and I was struck by the paucity of kicking in the three games that I saw and that included the Black Ferns game as well. And, I just thought how bad the kicking was and it surprised me particularly with the Irish team because they've recruited so strongly from gaelic football.

New Zealand’s Charmaine McMenamin on her way to scoring a try. Image: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

"Now, I was talking to Fiona Coghlan during the week and she said she notices a lot of women's 15s teams - they leave three back so there's not much space for kicking. 

"He (Fanning) comes up with a couple of things and now I don't agree with what he says but he's entitled to have a point of view. He says 'outside the elite of England, New Zealand and Canada, what you're getting at women's international rugby at the moment, often, is a quote 'one-dimensional, error-ridden slog'.

"Now I've seen lots of men's football and men's soccer games that I would have said were error-ridden slogs as well but he does make the point about kicking, he says 'if Ireland had the first cousin of kicking game then they would have been able to play some territory which would have cut down the attrition. The Aussies were similarly handicapped and their attempts off the tee were woeful'.

"So what he does, and this is what I think is interesting in the piece, he is suggesting why don't they look at changing the women's game in some ways and his suggestion is a lighter ball - which they don't use in rugby but is used in gaelic football for example. 

The full discussion can be heard here: