Media Misery At The Women’s Rugby World Cup 

Ireland host the biggest event in women’s world rugby next month, and before a ball has even been kicked many of the world’s media are nonplussed at the totally inadequate facilities for such a prestige tournament.

The number of media personnel that have been refused accreditation for the tournament is alarming, and I am not the only hacked off hack.

I have had countless e mails and tweets, from journalists and photographers, much higher up the food chain than yours truly, who are extremely upset and bewildered at Irish Rugbys total lack of appreciation, and foresight, when assessing the volume of media interest at this years Rugby World Cup tournament.

Hotels and flights have had to be booked well in advance, and at premium rates, due to the fact the biggest global sporting event taking place in August inevitably results in massively hiked up prices for travel and accommodation.

Many journalists and photographers are severely out-of-pocket, myself included, and as freelancers we have to take it on the chin, with no possibility of recompense.

A highly regarded photographer outside of Europe withdrew his name from the accreditation process last week.

He told me ” I got the impression that even with me jumping through hoops last week to get them information they have somehow lost that I wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot” 

I was asked to hard block this time off in my calendar a year ago in peak sports/wedding shooting season and there’s a chance I wouldn’t even know if I was accredited until I showed up in Ireland”

Closer to home a journalist who is well-known and has covered every Ireland game home and away since 2008 received notification that his accreditation had been refused.

These are just two examples of many journalists and photographers who have supported the women’s game week in week out, who now find themselves questioning their future coverage of the women’s game.

Some have told me they are worried that if they complain too much they will suffer the consequences when it comes to further accreditation requests.

In most cases no explanations were given for refusal, but thanks to some high-profile support my application was taken further, although the outcome was the same as shown below.

Maybe the whole problem stems from the fact that the Dublin venue is totally inadequate to house twelve international teams on one day.

The UCD is sold out and had a capacity of 3000, bearing in mind 6000 spectators attended Ireland v England in the women’s six nations, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that something is very wrong here.

Even those that have been granted accreditation have been told, by Irish Rugby that they may not be able to attend the actual games they are being paid to cover.

Women’s rugby has been constantly crying out for the increased media coverage their game deserves, and now at a time when it gets top billing, they have been badly let down by the organisers of WRWC 2017.

With Ireland bidding to host the men’s Rugby World Cup in 2023 the legacy of this tournament may not be a very positive one.

England Women’s Rugby World Cup Bonus You’re Fired


Many of the England squad, the favourites to lift the Women’s Rugby World Cup trophy at the end of August, will return from the tournament, win or lose, to find themselves unemployed.

England rugby bosses have informed the squad that their current professional contracts will not be renewed when they expire on 31 August.

Now I’m no expert on psychology and squad preparation at the highest level of elite rugby, but I would have thought that informing your national side that they will get the boot straight after the biggest tournament of their lives, is probably not a good thing in terms of morale and motivation.

Fifty players are currently employed on either a full or part-time basis, but as from September only seventeen full-time sevens contracts will be offered.

The reason given for this incredibly ill-timed decision is that England’s focus will be switching to the World Cup Sevens, to be held in San Francisco next year, and the Olympic games event in Tokyo in 2020.

Privately I have been informed that morale in the squad has been affected, as you would expect in any walk of life when you face the sack when there are mortgages and bills to pay, although I guarantee that every loyal England player will not admit it publicly.

So when they should be focussing on rugby, these poor souls are having to fit in job hunting and CV preparations around their rugby world cup preparations.

Some of the squad will be offered sevens contracts but relatively few.

It will be interesting to see how England start the tournament, on August 9th, when they face Spain in the opening match in Dublin.



First Class Mail At The Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

On July 13, 2017 AN Post, Ireland’s postal service issued a stamp to commemorate the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.

Ireland have always been keen to celebrate rugby via the postal system, particularly Rugby World Cup tournaments.

The wonderful 1995 tournament in South Africa was celebrated by many dogs in Ireland as the stamps issued, shown below, landed on the doormat to be chewed to pieces by hungry Labrador’s all across the Emerald Isle.

Not many gingers have had their “boat race” splashed over a 55c philatelic special, but in 2007 the great Paul O’Connell received the special treatment, to commemorate the World Cup in France.

The canine population of Eire celebrated equally vociferously dancing on the doormats of Dublin with a quadrupedal Riverdance.

Now, in 2017 the eighth Women’s Rugby Cup takes place in  Ireland.

Matches are planned from August 9 to August 26 in University College Dublin, Queens University, Belfast and in Kingspan Stadium, home of Ulster Rugby, in Belfast.

The pool stages take place in University College Dublin from August 9 to August 17, with the semi-finals and play-offs in Upper Malone, Queens University, Belfast from August 22 to August 26. The final will be played at the Kingspan Stadium which is one of the shortlisted venues for Ireland’s 2023 Rugby World Cup bid.

The postal services have come up trumps once again with a 1 Euro stamp featuring Niamh Briggs, captain of Ireland and Limerick Garda officer.

The stamp you see here was designed by Zinc Design Consultants, and shows the Irish captain in the thick of the action on the field.

So the Labrador’s wolfhounds and Irish setters will be rubbing their paws with glee as a new Irish rugby face is about to greet them through the letterbox.

Your Belfast Guide For The WRWC 2017 Semi Finals And Finals Stages 

Now that the pool stages are completed In Dublin, the whole Rugby World Cup bandwagon moves north in to Northern Ireland, where Belfast hosts the knock out stages.

Queens Sport, and Kingspan Stadium host the semi finals and finals on Tuesday 26 August, and Saturday 26 August.


The Womens Rugby World Cup Final kicks off at Kingspan Stadium, the home of Ulster Rugby, on Saturday 26 August at 7.45pm.


Adopt A Homeless Lion

A sad tale, Pence was enticed to France where he was part of the circus run by that cruel ringmaster Mourad Boujallel

Pence now finds himself surplus to requirements and without a home 

For just 55,000 euros a month he can be yours

Think of the hours of fun you can have, he loves chasing high balls

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Paradise Lost And Found In The Garden Of Eden

A day for searching for Paradise in the garden of Eden or perhaps a more earthly shangri la,an imaginary, beautiful place, often far away, where everything is pleasant and you can get everything you want.

A test series win was almost touchable for the British & Irish Lions heading into the third and deciding test in Auckland.

The imagined nearly became reality for the Lions at Eden Park, but paradise is a pretty elusive beast.

At 67 minutes it looked like paradise lost as Beauden Barrett kicked a simple penalty to put the All Blacks in front at 15-13, yet ten minutes later it became paradise found as Owen Farrell’s right boot brought the scores level at 15-15 with 77:26 on the clock.

A series drawn, but in the cold light of day a huge achievement for the men in red, to play the best in the world three times in three weeks and only lose once is quite a feat.

In the process the Lions have been saved, they can surely no longer be an endagered species, on social media tweets about fans saving up for South Africa in 2021 are already in abundence.

Who knows even the money men of the English Premiership may be swayed to assist the Lions in their preparation for future tours, although that is a clash perhaps even more daunting than a NZ test series.

For now we can sit back and bask in the warm glow of a drawn series where there was one clear and undisputed winner.. the wonderful game of rugby.

The Colour Red

In Ancient Rome the colour red symbolised blood and courage, whilst in China, it is regarded as a vibrant optimistic colour symbolising success, happiness and warmth, along with good luck and wealth.

On a rain lashed night in Wellington, the Westpac stadium was a sea of red, every tour party member wearing their customised red waterproofs ,the large collected droplets of rain cascading from the dark night skies reflecting on the jackets  like a sea of mirrors in the floodlit arena.

For the All  Blacks, the colour red came to symbolise the lost opportunity of sealing a series  win in which they are overwhelming favourites

With twenty four minutes on the clock, Sonny Bill Williams’ shoulder made contact with Anthony Watson’s head, referee Jerome Garces  pulled a card from his pocket, the colour ? Red.

The men in the red shirts were not going to let the chance of a lifetime slip through their fingers and end up with red faces, they levelled the series with a 24-21 victory.

The decider in Auckland next Saturday will be a noisy vibrant colourful affair and maybe, just maybe the colour red, will be the one in which the Lions and their amazing followers paint the town.