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IRFU statement: Ireland recruit new women’s coach from England

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ireland have turned to England to try and improve the flagging fortunes of their women’s national team, recruiting Scott Bemand as head coach on a three-year deal. The Irish had been without a coach since Greg McWilliams stepped down on May 5 following a wooden spoon Six Nations campaign that finished with losses in all five of their matches.

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That saw them drop to 10th in the World Rugby rankings and has left them to compete in WXV3 this autumn in Dubai against Spain, Kazakhstan, Fiji and Colombia.

Ireland will hope that promotion from that group to WXV2 is now possible with Bemand in charge after he recently finished up his multi-title stint with Simon Middleton’s England.

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I spoke to rugby fans at the Women’s Six Nations match between Ireland and England

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I spoke to rugby fans at the Women’s Six Nations match between Ireland and England

A statement read: “The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) is delighted to announce the appointment of Scott Bemand as the new head coach of the Ireland women’s squad on a three-year contract. Englishman Bemand will join the IRFU on August 21 ahead of the Ireland squad’s reconvening in September.

“He will be in place ahead of the start of Ireland’s WXV3 campaign in Dubai, which includes matches on October 14, 21 and 28. He will be joined by the existing coaching panel for the coming campaign.

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“A former professional rugby union player at Harlequins, Leicester Tigers and Bath, Scott embarked on his coaching career upon his retirement from playing. In May 2015, Bemand was appointed lead coach of the England women’s XV, working alongside Simon Middleton, who initially held a joint role with the sevens team.

“He was part of the coaching set-up as England finished runners-up at the 2017 and 2022 Women’s Rugby World Cups. During his time as England’s lead coach, the Red Roses won six Six Nations titles (including five Grand Slams) and achieved the number one world ranking.”

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Bemand said: “I am proud to join the IRFU at this exciting time for the game in Ireland. It is clear speaking to the IRFU across the course of the interview process how ambitious they are to grow the women’s game.

“I believe that there is a promising talent pool of players who will help create a new chapter for the game here. I look forward to working with the players and coaches and shaping a new path.”

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