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Ireland co-captain Sam Monaghan ruled out with 'significant knee injury'

By Martyn Thomas
Cork , Ireland - 13 April 2024; Sam Monaghan of Ireland during the Women's Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Wales at Virgin Media Park in Cork. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland co-captain Sam Monaghan looks set to miss her country’s WXV 1 campaign after being ruled out for an “extended period” with a serious knee injury.

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Monaghan suffered the injury in the first half of Gloucester-Hartpury’s Premiership Women’s Rugby (PWR) final victory against Bristol Bears in Exeter on June 22nd.

With Ireland scheduled to make their WXV 1 debut in Canada on the weekend of September 27th it seems unlikely that the second row will be fit in time to take part.

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The news will come as a blow to Monaghan, her club and Ireland. The second row fell awkwardly following an attempted tackle on Bears prop Hannah Botterman and left the field on a stretcher with less than 18 minutes of the PWR final played.

After watching her team-mates turn a 17-7 half-time deficit into a 36-24 victory at Sandy Park, Monaghan was pictured taking part in the Gloucester-Hartpury celebrations on crutches and with her knee in a brace.

On Monday, Gloucester-Hartpury confirmed in a statement that Monaghan “is set for an extended period on the sidelines after sustaining a significant knee injury”.

“Losing Sam to injury is a big blow,” Gloucester-Hartpury coach Sean Lynn said. “She played a huge role in our title-winning season and her absence will definitely be felt.

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“We know how hard she will work with the medical team to get back to full fitness and we can’t wait to see her back in action.”

Monaghan joined Gloucester-Hartpury from Wasps ahead of the 2022-23 season and has gone on to make 26 appearances, scoring six tries, for the Circus as they won back-to-back league titles – starting both finals.

She was named Ireland co-captain, alongside Edel McMahon, by head coach Scott Bemand ahead of the team’s WXV 3 campaign last October.

The second row played all three matches as Ireland claimed the inaugural title in Dubai and made three Guinness Women’s Six Nations 2024 appearances as Ireland finished third to claim their place in WXV 1 and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025.

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finn 5 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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