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6 Nations

IRFU Announces National Talent Squad Inductees for 2022/23 Season



The 85 players selected to the IRFU’s National Talent Squad (NTS) programme, supported by Pwc, for the 2022/23 season have been confirmed with a strong spread of talent across the four provinces from established and emerging rugby environments.

The NTS programme has been in existence since 2016 and its purpose is to identify, develop and support players who have the potential, ability, and drive to play professional rugby within Ireland. The aim of the programme is to accelerate the development of young players of national interest between the ages of 16-21. The services provided prepare players to perform within the provincial and national pathways and the transition to the senior professional game.

Recent NTS graduates have been capped at senior international level for Ireland – Ryan Baird, Craig Casey, James Hume, Michael Lowry and Tom O’Toole.

2022 Toyota Challenge, Emerging Ireland celebrate win over Currie Cup side the Griquas in their opening game in Bloemfontein, South Africa

While others like Thomas Ahern, Thomas Clarkson, Jack Crowley, Nathan Doak, Cathal Forde, Michael Milne, Stewart Moore, David McCann, Ethan McIlroy, Ben Murphy, Jamie Osborne, Scott Penny, Andrew Smith and Tom Stewart all featured for the Emerging Ireland squad that competed in the Toyota Challenge in Bloemfontein over the past couple of weeks.

National Talent Squad Level 1 (Players who have left Secondary School)

Fiachna Barrett (Corinthians RFC)
Sam Berman (Dublin University FC)
Jack Boal (QUB RFC)
Joe Charles (Ballynahinch RFC)
David Colbert (Dublin University FC)
Hugh Cooney (Clontarf FC)
Josh Costello (Shannon RFC)
Adam Deay (Lansdowne FC)
Cameron Doak (Belfast Harlequins RFC)
James Doyle (Lansdowne FC)
Sean Edogbo (UCC RFC)
Sean Fox (Corinthians RFC)
Brian Gleeson (Garryowen FC)
Ethan Graham (Ballynahinch RFC)
Fintan Gunne (Terenure RFC)
George Hadden (Clontarf FC)
Charlie Irvine (QUB RFC)
Stephen Kiely (Old Crescent RFC)
Mark Lee (Rainey Old Boys RFC)
Gus McCarthy (UCD RFC)
Patrick McCarthy (Dublin University FC)
Henry McErlean (Terenure College RFC)
Liam Molony (Dublin University FC)
Ruben Moloney (UCD RFC)
Ihechi Oji (UL Bohemians RFC)
Andrew Osborne (Naas RFC)
Conor O’Tighernaigh (UCD RFC)
Danny Sheahan (UCC RFC)
Jacob Sheahan (UCC RFC)

National Talent Squad Level 2 (Players in final year of Secondary School)

David Armstrong (Methodist College)
Ambrose Bamber (Sligo RFC/Sligo Grammar)
Jacob Boyd (RBAI)
Tadhg Brophy (Newbridge College)
Emmett Calvey (Ard Scoil Ris)
Oliver Coffey (Blackrock College)
Rory Ellerby (RBAI)
Tom Farthing (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Chroi Mhuire)
Paidi Farrell (Tullamore RFC/St Mary’s Edenderry)
Jules Fenelon (St Michael’s College)
Mark Fitzgerald (Crescent College Comp)
Max Flynn (Corinthians RFC/CC Roscrea)
Caden Grant (Corinthians RFC/St Joseph’s College)
Dylan Hicks (Bantry RFC/Colaiste Pobail)
Lucas Kenny (Campbell College)
Luke Kritzinger (Blackrock College)
Tom Larke (Old Wesley RFC/St Columba’s College)
Flynn Longstaff (Campbell College)
Ben McFarlane (Methodist College)
James McKillop (Foyle College)
Hugo McLaughlin (Gonzaga College)                              Blayze Molloy (Ballina RFC/Clongowes)
Alex Mullen (Blackrock College)
Jack Murphy (Presentation College Bray)
Luke Murphy (Ard Scoil Ris)
Sean Naughton (Kilkenny College)
Dawid Novak (CBC Cork)
Kamil Novak (CBC Cork)
Ben O’Connor (PBC Cork)
Michael O’Donovan (Bantry RFC/Colaiste Pobail)
Jed O’Dwyer (Crescent College Comp)
Jake O’Riordan (St Munchines College)
Stephen Smyth (Kilkenny College)
Andrew Sparrow (St Mary’s College)
Alan Spicer (Belvedere College)
Josh Stevens (Methodist College)
Alex Usanov (Belvedere College)
Bryn Ward (RBAI)

National Talent Squad Level 3 (Players with 2 or more years left in Secondary School)

Cian Brady (Monivea RFC/Colaiste an Eachreidh)
Connor Fahy (Wexford Wanderers RFC/Good Counsel)
Michael Foy (CBC Cork)
Sean Hopkins (Ballina RFC/St Muredach’s College)
Jamie Jackson (Portadown College)
Clarke Logan (Coleraine Grammar School)
Charlie Molony (Blackrock College)                                      Aaron O’Brien (St Mary’s College)                                Diarmuid O’Connell (Sligo RFC/Sligo Grammar)
Gene O’Leary Kareem (PBC Cork)
Mahon Ronan (Boyne RFC/St Marys Drogheda)
Eoghan Smyth (Midleton RFC/Midleton College)
Tom Stewart (St Michael’s College)
Paddy Taylor (Newbridge College)
Matt Te Pou (St Munchins College)
Bryan Walsh (Corinthians RFC/Colaiste Einde)
Adam Watchorn (Kilkenny College)
Tom Wood (St Munchins College)

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

6 Nations

Ireland’s TikTok Women’s Six Nations Home Games To Be Played At Musgrave Park



Ireland’s home matches in the 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations will be played at Musgrave Park.

The Cork venue has been the home of the Ireland U20s since 2019 and has become a real fortress in recent seasons, with Ireland Women also enjoying huge support there when they defeated Italy at Musgrave Park in last year’s Six Nations.

Greg McWilliams‘ side open their 2023 Championship against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, 25th March (2.15pm) before welcoming France to Cork in Round 2 on Saturday, 1st April (3.15pm). After a rest weekend, Ireland will be on the road again, going head-to-head with Italy in Parma on Saturday, 15th April (4.45pm).

World Cup finalists England will visit Musgrave Park in Round 4 on Saturday, 22nd April (2.15pm) and the Championship will conclude with a trip to Edinburgh to take on Scotland at the DAM Health Stadium on Saturday, 29th April (7.30pm).

“We received huge home support during last year’s Six Nations and we’re excited to make Cork our home base for the 2023 Championship,” McWilliams said. “We enjoyed a good day out against Italy last year, with the people of Cork coming out to support the team and we will be hoping for more of the same in 2023, as two of the best teams in women’s rugby come to visit.”

Ticket details for Ireland’s home matches at Musgrave Park will be announced in due course.

TikTok Women’s Six Nations Fixtures 2023:

  • Wales v Ireland, Saturday 25 March, Cardiff Arms Park, 2.15pm
  • Ireland v France, Saturday 1 April, Musgrave Park, 3.15pm
  • Italy v Ireland, Saturday 15 April, Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, 4.45pm
  • Ireland v England, Saturday 22 April, Musgrave Park, 2.15pm
  • Scotland v Ireland, Saturday 29 April, DAM Health Stadium, 7.30pm.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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6 Nations

Leading Rugby Stakeholders Unite To Consider Future Of Rugby



Rugby’s major stakeholders have united to consider the short and long-term insights and priorities for ensuring the sport is a relevant, accessible and attractive sport for all as it grows over the next decade.

The World Rugby Shape of the Game conference, hosted in London, gathered leading coaching, playing, officiating, medical and event owner minds to consider how to build a better game for all, focusing on safety and spectacle. Underpinning that mission is the ongoing prioritisation of player welfare, while fostering an environment that is simpler, more accessible and more attractive.

It will be followed by similar conferences on the elite women’s 15s and community games as the sport looks to growth opportunities over the next decade. The process will also consider fan views and general sport and entertainment considerations to create a holistic approach to the future of the sport.

Over two days, delegates considered the global welfare landscape, including reinforcing the data regarding the relative safety of the community and age-grade game, global playing trends and the role of match officials, the narrative around the sport with all participants focused on the bigger picture.

The conference identified key areas for further exploration:

• Focus on the fan: Insights from fans and broadcasters to inform the longer-term development of the sport as an entertainment product

• Speed up the game: Focus on interventions and innovations to reduce stoppages, increase continuity and the rhythm of the game

• Support match officials: Provide them with the tools to perform their role to their best ability, consider TMO intervention reductions

• Underpin with player welfare: Continue to implement evidence-based strategies to mitigate head injuries and overall injuries in the sport

• Change the narrative: The community game is the lifeblood of the sport, the risk of injury is much less than that of the elite game, focus on the benefits while managing the risks

World Rugby will take away the considerations and insights for further exploration to prioritise areas that can be implemented in the short term without changing law ahead of Rugby World Cup 2023.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said:

“As a sport, a movement and a family, we must always challenge ourselves to be better. That means taking time to consider what fans and players want the future of our sport to be, a future where more people want to play and support the game, where injury risk is reducing and where all involved in the game have their say.

“This conference was the first step towards a reimagination of our sport. The full and frank contributions from a wide spectrum of disciplines gives us plenty to consider and to move forward with through our structures. I would like to thank all participants for taking time out at a busy time to unite, collaborate and consider our future.”

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

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6 Nations

England side to face Springboks



England host the Springboks at Twickenham Stadium in their final Autumn Nations Series game on Saturday 26 November (5.30pm KO).

Manu Tuilagi will make his 50th appearance for England at outside centre, having made his debut for England against Wales in August 2011. Owen Farrell will again captain the side at inside centre.

Marcus Smith is at fly half and Jack van Poortvliet is at scrum half. Tommy Freeman comes in at right wing, Jonny May is at left wing and Freddie Steward is full back.

Jamie George (hooker) and Mako Vunipola join fellow prop Kyle Sinckler in two changes to the starting front row. Maro Itoje and Jonny Hill stay at lock. Alex Coles comes in at flanker with Tom Curry, while Billy Vunipola is No.8.

Last weekend’s double-try scorer Will Stuart is named as a finisher along with Luke Cowan-Dickie, David Ribbans, Sam Simmonds, Ben Youngs, Henry Slade and vice-captains Ellis Genge and Jack Nowell.

“This is our last game of the autumn and our chance to continue building on the improvements we have made throughout the matches,” said Jones. “We have made steady progress from game-to-game, culminating in a pulsating draw against New Zealand.

“Now we have the chance to test ourselves against the might of the world champions. We’re going out there to light the crowd up. The support at Twickenham was outstanding last week and we want to work hard on the pitch to make sure we have another atmosphere like that again on Saturday.”



15. Freddie Steward

14. Tommy Freeman

13. Manu Tuilagi

12. Owen Farrell (C)

11. Jonny May

10. Marcus Smith

9. Jack van Poortvliet

1. Mako Vunipola

2. Jamie George

3. Kyle Sinckler

4. Maro Itoje

5. Jonny Hill

6. Alex Coles

7. Tom Curry

8. Billy Vunipola


16. Luke Cowan-Dickie

17. Ellis Genge

18. Will Stuart

19. David Ribbans

20. Sam Simmonds

21. Ben Youngs

22. Henry Slade

23. Jack Nowell

Images & Content from England Rugby
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