Eddy had been involved in a controversy after the women's team didn't qualify for the World Cup

Anthony Eddy steps down from IRFU role with immediate affect

Anthony Eddy has decided to vacate his post as the IRFU’s director of sevens and women’s rugby with immediate affect.

The announcement that Eddy is stepping down comes after Ireland’s 15-a-side women’s team failed to qualify for this year’s Rugby World Cup, with a review into that campaign due to be published in the coming days.

Shortly after Ireland were beaten by Scotland in the European qualifier for the World Cup, Eddy defended the amount of support the team received from the governing body, which sparked criticism from players.

Former Ireland player Jenny Murphy described the comments as “spineless” while Claire Molloy, who retired from international rugby following the qualifiers, tweeted: “Truly disheartening and disappointing read for everyone involved in women’s rugby in Ireland. Where is the accountability? Oh sorry, that’s for players alone to bear.”

Related: Ireland rugby stars criticise director Anthony Eddy

Australian Eddy, who took on the role in 2014 and oversaw the men’s sevens team qualifying for the Olympics for the first time, said of his decision to step down: “The last two years during Covid have given me time to reflect on the next phase of my career and life.

“It can be difficult living so far from home, family and friends. Having assessed everything, I’ve decided to change things up and seek new opportunities.”

IRFU performance director David Nucifora added: “The IRFU have been very fortunate to have had someone of the calibre of Anthony to have built these programmes up from nothing. I wish him the very best of luck for any new challenge he takes up.”

Following Eddy’s decision to step down, the IRFU confirmed his duties will be passed to staff in the union while it takes time to “reassess the future requirements for the women’s and sevens games”.

He has stepped down just weeks away from the start of the Women’s Six Nations. Ireland first face Wales on 26 March before playing France, Italy, England and Scotland.

The team have a new head coach for the championship after Adam Griggs stepped down following the November Tests. Greg McWilliams has taken over with former captain Niamh Briggs as his assistant.

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