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6 Nations

McWilliams Names Ireland Women’s Squad For Japan Tour

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Back-to-back matches against the Sakura 15s in August form part of a summer programme for McWilliams’ young side, and the exciting development opportunities ahead are highlighted by the inclusion of eight uncapped players in the touring party for Japan.

Forwards Clara Nielson, Jo Brown and Taryn Schutzler are named in the national squad for the first time having impressed during a series of recent camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre.

Backs Aoife Dalton, Dannah O’Brien, Emma Tilly, Kayla Waldron and Leah Tarpey also receive their first call-ups.

Dalton, O’Brien, Tilly and Tarpey are all part of the IRFU’s Women’s National Talent Squad, which was launched earlier this year.

Ireland will be captained once again by Nichola Fryday, as they open the series against Japan at Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka on Saturday, August 20, before a second Test against Lesley McKenzie’s team a week later, on Saturday, August 27, at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo.

Japan, currently ranked 12th in the world, are coming off the back of a historic Test victory over Australia and are currently preparing for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in October.

The summer programme will provide McWilliams and his coaching staff with another valuable window to develop squad depth, build cohesion, and expose a number of young players to the international arena, with Japan set to provide a stern test.

McWilliams has included 13 players – including Kate Flannery who starred for Ireland during the recent Under-18 Women’s Six Nations Festival – on the stand-by list for Japan.

Aoife McDermott, Ella Roberts, Hannah Duffy, Jessica Keating, Jorja Battishill, Flannery, Leah Lyons, Meabh Deely, Muirne Wall, Shannon Touhey and Vicky Irwin have all been part of the national team summer programme and remain available for selection.

Unfortunately eight players – Alice O’Dowd, Aoibheann Reilly, Aoife Wafer, Eimear Considine, Ellen Murphy, Kathryn Dane, Nikki Caughey and Niamh Byrne – were unavailable for selection.

Commenting on the squad, McWilliams said: “We’re excited to finalise the touring squad for Japan having trained together as an extended group of 50 players since May.

“There is a strong mix of youth and experience in the panel and this is a great opportunity for the uncapped and young players, some of whom have come up through the pathway and the National Talent Squad programme.

“That in itself is really positive to see these players develop through the system and now get their opportunity in the senior team as we build ahead of next season.

This summer programme was designed to expose us to new environments and challenges and it has been brilliant to work with the group for an extended period leading up to our departure for Japan.

“We look forward to two tough Test matches and the positive experience touring will bring for the players and staff.”

In addition, former Fiji Men’s head coach John McKee has been added to the Ireland coaching team for the summer programme and will travel to Japan.

Kick-off times and broadcast details for the two Tests against Japan will be confirmed in due course.

IRELAND WOMEN’S Squad (2022 Japan Tour, August 2022):

Backs (12) –

Ailsa Hughes (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Aoife Dalton (Tullamore RFC/Leinster) *
Aoife Doyle (Railway Union RFC/Munster)
Dannah O’Brien (Tullow RFC/Leinster) *
Emma Tilly (MU Barnhall RFC/Leinster) *
Enya Breen (TBC/Munster)
Kayla Waldron (Hamilton Hawks/IQ Rugby) *
Lauren Delany (Sale Sharks/IQ Rugby)
Leah Tarpey (Tullamore RFC/Leinster) *
Molly Scuffil-McCabe (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Natasja Behan (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Nicole Cronin (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)

Forwards (17) –

Chloe Pearse (UL Bohemian RFC/Munster)
Christy Haney (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Clara Nielson (Exeter Chiefs/IQ Rugby) *
Dorothy Wall (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
Edel McMahon (Wasps/IQ Rugby)
Emma Hooban (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Grace Moore (Saracens/IQ Rugby)
Hannah O’Connor (Blackrock College RFC/Leinster)
Jo Brown (Worcester Warriors/IQ Rugby) *
Katie O’Dwyer (Railway Union RFC/Leinster)
Laura Feely (Blackrock College RFC/Connacht)
Linda Djougang (ASM Romagnat Rugby/Leinster)
Maeve Óg O’Leary (Blackrock College RFC/Munster)
Neve Jones (Gloucester-Hartpury/Ulster)
Nichola Fryday (Exeter Chiefs/Connacht) (capt)
Sam Monaghan (TBC)
Taryn Schutzler (Saracens/Ulster) *

* Denotes uncapped player

Ireland Women’s Japan Tour Fixtures:

  • Japan v Ireland, Ecopa Stadium, Fukuroi City, Shizuoka, Saturday, August 20
  • Japan v Ireland, Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium, Tokyo, Saturday, August 27

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

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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

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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

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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.”

Squad

Starters

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

Finishers

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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