While exams and job prospects vie for priority throughout the academic year, rugby will enjoy parity atop the to-do list for about two dozen NUIG bookworms this March.

National University of Ireland (Galway) plays host to tertiary-level sports teams from around the country contesting the annual “intervarsities”competition. NUIG’s rugby women wish to kick on from 2010’s performance, runner-up to and co-finalist with University of Limerick. Last year, NUIG met UCC in the knock-out stages, succumbing 12-10 in the semi-final.

ivarscomm1_640x342Public Relations Officer and tournament veteran Carol Staunton said both 2010 and 2011 were “happy” tournaments for NUIG but given the narrow scoreline margins games could have easily swung in their favour for even happier results. Miss Staunton said the 2012 squad was under no illusion as to their own expectations, and they had set them on the number one spot.

“There’s really nothing stopping us kicking on, we tend to surprise ourselves at these tournaments. The intervarsities is a great leveller as everyone’s in sort of the same boat. Everyone in our camp’s pretty focused on making this year a pleasant surprise, and celebrating accordingly of course,” Miss Staunton said.

While invitations sought entries from all 14 of Ireland’s CUSAI-registered tertiary institutions, exact numbers would be unknown until the February registration deadline. The March 28,29 tournament was run in a round-robin arrangement and included a final making it a true championship. There was a divisional distinction however, but NUIG contested the foremost competition along with the country’s rugby heavyweights.

Miss Staunton added that domestic and international student ranks this year had bolstered the rugby acumen at NUIG, and she had high hopes for this year’s hosts.

caption: Carol Staunton (media liaison), Hannah Smith (chairwoman), and team skipper Louise Kelly eagerly await the March Intervarsities Womens Rugby tournament in late March. NUIG will contest the premier division, and hopes to advance beyond last year’s semi-final knockout stage.

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