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'It was a sacrifice but I loved it' | Ireland Captain Ciara Griffin on decision to bow out

Ireland captain Ciara Griffin says she feels her decision to retire from international rugby now ...

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

18:50 16 Nov 2021



Ireland captain Ciara Griffin says she feels her decision to retire from international rugby now is the right one. 

There was much surprise when the 27-year-old announced on Tuesday afternoon that Saturday's Test with Japan at the RDS will be her last in a green shirt.

Reflecting on her decision the back-row says she has pondered over it and now is the right time to focus on other areas of her life.

"It's something I haven't come to lightly, it's something I've had to think about for a while.

"After events in Parma [Ireland failed to qualify for the next World Cup] and the qualification process, it gave me time to reflect at home with my family.

"I've given my life to this game, I've literally given everything to it so it's time to focus on my next chapter and put my family first for a change.

"I'm at peace with my decision, it's the right time for me, I'm very fortunate I get to go on my own terms."

Saturday will see Griffin, who made her international debut in 2016, earn her 41st cap.

She also spoke on Tuesday evening about the impact she has had on fellow players and where the women's game stands at the moment, after a tumultuous time recently.

"I'd like to be remembered as a person who tries to do their best for the green jersey.

"Always put the jersey first, their players first, a person who led by example, let my actions do the talking and just always play with a smile on my face, I loved every minute in that jersey.

"I am optimistic for the game.

"There's reviews taking place to make sure these events don't happen again and that the right procedures are put in place. I'm taking solace in the fact that that review is happening.

"Obviously, I'm not disappearing into the background and leaving everyone, I'll still be there for players if they need to reach out or need me for anything.

"It's time now though to leave and let other players come in and get that experience."

Griffin was of course an amateur player throughout her career.

The Kerry native works as a teacher in CBS Primary School in Tralee and also has keen agricultural interests.

She says while representing your country means having to give up parts of your life she wouldn't change anything over the last five years.

"It is a sacrifice but it's a choice at the end of the day.

"It's simple things - saying no to different events or not being around, it's been a tough year with everything and it's time now to put my family first and be there.

"It was a sacrifice but I've loved every minute and I think I'm leaving it in a place that I know I've put everything I could into it and it's time now to focus on the next step."

Irish Women's Rugby has gone through a difficult period recently.

There has been tension between the IRFU and female players over recent comments made by Director of Rugby Sevens and Director of Women's Rugby Anthony Eddy and IRFU CEO Philip Browne.

It was also revealed just hours before Griffin's announcement that the union will not publish the report on the failure of the Women's team to qualify for the World Cup.

They will instead release key findings of the independent review which will be delivered by former Wales international Amanda Bennett.

Griffin says recent controversies have not swayed her.

"My decision hasn't been influenced by the last week at all.

"Obviously, it has been a tough time for us as a group with everything.

"To be honest, the time of the pandemic has made me reevaluate an awful lot of things - that time at home, getting time with your family, it just made me reassess different things.

"Now I have the opportunity that I can finish at home on home soil and I can finish on my own terms."

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