New Women's Celtic Challenge Competition to start in January

New Women's Celtic Challenge Competition to start in January New Women's Celtic Challenge Competition to start in January
Neasa Kennedy

A Pilot Celtic Challenge Competition is due to begin on January 29th and sees the IRFU, WRU and Scottish Rugby coming together to create a new competition with support from World Rugby.

From 2023, one team from each union will compete home and away fixtures over the course of 6 weeks, with each team playing 2 home games and 2 away games.

The competition's aim is to launch a full six-team-tournament in 2024 with two sides from each union in the mix.

Scottish Rugby will be represented by The Thistles XV, Welsh Rugby will be represented by a WRU Development XV and Irish Rugby will be represented by The Combined Provinces XV and lead by coaches Greg McWilliams and John McKee.


The squad will consist of contracted XV players as well as club players who are under consideration for Ireland's Six Nations squad and will be based out of the IRFU's High Performance Centre in the Sport Ireland Campus.

The home fixtures for the Irish squad will be played at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on February 4th and 18th with kick-off times for all fixtures being confirmed by respective unions once finalised.

The competition will finish only four weeks before the 2023 TikTok Women's Six Nations.

Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams said: “The Celtic Challenge comes directly after the interprovincial series which will give players the opportunity to build form and match sharpness coming into this new competition.


“As a coaching group it gives us the chance to spend six weeks working with a group of established and emerging players ahead of the Six Nations.”

The news comes after professional contracts were announced for Women's Rugby by the IRFU and the future of women's rugby is looking bright with more investment and higher standards.

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