Philip Doyle on his first few months at Scottish Rugby
Earlier this year, Scotland Women confirmed Philip Doyle will lead the squad through the Women’s World Cup qualification process. Doyle, who led Ireland to victory against New Zealand and a Grand Slam in 2013, has been in post since May at Scottish Rugby.
“I have been given the gauntlet of trying to get us to the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand. I think that is a huge challenge to take on, and one I really relish.” Philip Doyle
“It is great being over here and getting to know everyone and the systems and getting to know the way that Scottish Rugby runs. Everyone has been very welcoming, and I am really happy with the management team we have in place. There hasn’t been a bad word said and everyone has just got on so well.
Doyle knows the Scotland Women set up well, but from being in the opposition coaches’ box. Reflecting on playing against Scotland, he said,
“It was always a tough game. You come over here and you are never going to get an easy game against the Scots, they are never going to stand down. For the first number of years that I played them, I couldn’t beat them. It wasn’t until 2006 or so that we ended up beating Scotland for the first time.
“I have been involved in women’s rugby for 25 years. Scotland were well up there at number 1 or 2 in the 5 Nations and always such a strong haul, results haven’t been going their way the last couple of years.
“When I took over first in my previous role, I don’t think the Irish Women had won a game for three years and hadn’t even scored a try for two years. I know what it is like to want to improve and I know how to get us moving forward.”
Scotland Women have recently had two training weekends to kick start their XVs season and prepare them ahead of their first ever tour to South Africa. Doyle reflected on his first full session with the squad.
“We are all new and I told them that I was just as nervous as they were. So, we were all in a room and I said,” We are all newbies, so let’s just get that out of the way and get used to my processes and what I am looking for”. And we really did, straight from the first session! This openness was fantastic to see, it was a great weekend all in all.”
“Our priorities from a rugby point of view is our set piece which undoubtably has to improve. Especially our scrum and that is why we have brought in specialist scrum coaches this year which is great backing from Scottish Rugby. It is exactly what I asked for and exactly what I got so that is really positive.”
Scotland Women have a busy season ahead of them. They will be departing to South Africa at the end of September and have recently announced two home matches at Scotstoun against Wales and Japan. Doyle explains why this is so important.
“We need to improve our rankings and South Africa are really close to us in the World Rankings. They have just qualified for the World Cup, so they are very, very buoyant at the moment. They play very nice rugby. They are physical and quick, especially out on the outside attack.
“But we are looking for that tour to really learn about ourselves.” Philip Doyle
“We are going to treat it like a World Cup cycle type of tour so there are six days in between each match.
“It is nice that we are playing Wales and Japan, two different types of sides. So, we are going to have that experience going into the Six Nations of which way do we want to play against our opposition.
“But through our leaders and all the experience that is in the squad. And there is still more experience to gain. We have to grow that experience and with ten internationals between now and the end of the Six Nations, we definitely will get that experience and hopefully bring that into that World Cup playoff.”
“What is it going to take? It will take a lot of people who are focussed on pulling in the right direction." Philip Doyle