A window has many tasks, above all it should let in light and air. It also offers a glimpse of the wide world, but also allows a look inwards.
How to measure the novel window created for the Women’s Six Nations Rugby Championship? Apparently there is a dizzying excitement among many of its supporters that it has taken the sport to unprecedented heights.
Record viewership and terrestrial television viewership have co-existed with a typically modern social media interaction element from its TikTok sponsors, albeit in lieu of significant investment.
Now historically separate from its male behemoth, the contest has been given space to develop its own story, and here, too, the superficial narrative seems to support the Gambit.
England will face France in a Grand Slam decider – nobody has dared to call it ‘Super Sunday’ as they strangely don’t get a settlement at the end of the final round of play.
And while, despite some brave exceptions, it was often difficult for the media to walk the line between cheering the sport and attempting to rigorously report on its multiple troubles, the benefits of shifting the calendar were evident.
Nevertheless, for some people who are particularly involved in women’s sports in this country, as part of a
Last weekend, when the all-amateur teams were sent into slaughter against the English professionals, the amount of attention they received in comparison to, say, a Republic of Ireland football team that achieved the best result in their history against the second-best team in the world, Sweden, seemed scored, received, staggering.
The window of opportunity that has now opened on an Irish side totally unprepared to reach their optimum level of performance has only served to exaggerate the winds of change needed in this country to make that happen.
That many of them gasp shows that more than a campaign for fundamental structural changes is needed – and they have yet to begin! – Build a competitive mastery force.
The argument that they remain competitive against the utterly beatable sides of Scotland and Italy – despite both attending a World Cup which Ireland failed miserably to qualify for – might win over narrow-minded supporters.
But that in itself demonstrates the fact that the Six Nations Championship as currently constituted remains a hopelessly imbalanced affair, neatly divided between the haves and have-nots of European football.
For England to go into a decider with an impeccable record – with 258 points scored and just 10 conceded – puts them on a podium that deserves recognition but one that also casts a bad light on a competition that is being seriously denied, a real one to have sporting danger.
Nevertheless, it is possible that the organizers get the hoped-for endgame on the final day, even if it is the middle game on the final day.
As for Ireland, the memories of their World Cup defeat by Scotland in Parma will certainly spur them on, even without their Sevens players being contractually obligated to play in a Langford event of minimal importance.
From the outside, Ireland’s last league game is also of minimal importance and that is the concern of the Six Nations as they try to stand on shaky ground.
A generation ago, Ireland withdrew from this event and as Spain was removed in 2007 to allow Italy to join, thus mimicking the male equivalent, it remains embryonic.
Even England have been undermining it lately, ironically pulling their Sevens players out of the fray.
Women’s rugby is at a fragile, emerging stage of development in so many areas and, as previous World Cups have shown, guaranteeing tournaments of consistent sporting integrity is extremely difficult.
The public’s impatience to bring about change must be matched by a willingness to hold on to sometimes absurd competitions, even if they sometimes endanger the well-being of the players.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/six-nations/new-six-nations-window-has-only-shone-a-light-on-sports-global-struggles-41587169.html The new Six Nations window has only shed a light on the sport’s global struggles