The NUIG-hosted Womens Rugby Intervarsities will boast an all-star cast next week, with several Six Nations Stars on board to play.

Next Wednesday and Thursday (28 and 29 March) four from this year’s Ireland Six Nations starting XV will tear about the Dangan Sportsfields in teams from UCC, QUB, and LIT. Two other international caps in Laura Guest (blindside flanker) and Gillian Bourke (hooker) will coach UCC and University Limerick, respectively.NUIG

Connacht captain and player-of-the-year nominee Ali Miller (University College Cork), Belfast Harlequin and 2012 debutante Irish fullback Ashleigh Baxter (Queens University Belfast), are set to continue their representative seasons away from home; and veteran winger Niamh Kavanagh and stalwart number-eight and vice-captain Joy Neville will add invaluable bulk and experience to a UL side which start as tournament favourites.

NUIG, UL, and Guest and Miller’s UCC will compete for the top-tier championship title, whereas LIT, CIT, DCU, WIT and Queen’s University (Belfast) contest the second Division.

Participation of such high-profile athletes is a major coup for the Galway-based organising committee, who wish to raise the tournament profile and showcase women’s rugby at the end of this month. NUIG skipper Louise Kelly cannot wait to get stuck in.

“It’s great to have this kind of support. Organising the tournament has been tough, especially on top of studies and training.

“In fairness, the study has been coming a distant second in recent weeks, but some of these Six Nations girls show it’s possible to combine academics and high-performance sport.

“It’s also really neat to have them on board after such a great Six Nations campaign – it can only help boost women’s college rugby, and women’s rugby in general,” Kelly said.

Women’s college rugby has long been a breeding ground for interprovincial and international talent and this year’s tournament organisers expect nothing less from next week’s performances.

To find out more about the event visit the club website, or contact club secretary Carol Staunton via [email protected]


Gillian McDarby appointed IRFU Head of Women’s Performance & Pathways