Ireland Women's centre Jenny Murphy has described the Irish Rugby Football Union's (IRFU) decision to offer only a part-time contract to the team's new coach as "disheartening".
Earlier this week, the IRFU advertised for ex-women's coach Tom Tierney's replacement, revealing that it would be only a part-time, six-month contract.
Tierney, who had been on a full-time contract since 2014, stepped down from the role following a disappointing World Cup campaign in which Ireland finished eighth and failed to secure automatic qualification for the 2021 tournament.
Murphy, who was a member of the Ireland squad at the last two World Cups, stated on social media that she was "absolutely gutted" by the IRFU's decision.
Absolutely gutted myself. The training and effort all the girls make and we get a 'casual' coach. Disheartening.— Jenny Murphy (@jennymurphy045) October 17, 2017
In reply to international colleague Ruth O'Reilly, who claimed the IRFU had shown the women's game a lack of respect, Murphy tweeted:
A kick in the teeth for players. So much progress made by other nations and we take 5 steps backwards. https://t.co/vQIGZmRcTP— Jenny Murphy (@jennymurphy045) October 17, 2017
The IRFU has defended its position, with a statement insisting: "The decision to return the coaching role to a part-time basis follows feedback from coaches the IRFU has spoken with, and a further decision on the nature of this role will be completed post the 2018 Six Nations."