The fixtures for this year’s Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship have been announced.
The competition will return to a round-robin format that will take place over three weekends this year.
The Interprovincial Championship will take place from Friday, August 28th – Saturday, September 11th.
The Championship trophy will be lifted for the first time since 2019, with reigning champions beginning their defence against Connacht at the Sportsground in a repeat of the final two years ago.
IRFU Women’s Development Manager Amanda Greensmith said: “Preparations are in full swing across the provinces and we’re really looking forward to seeing the return of what is a blue riband event for Irish Rugby.
“There’s a full cohort of players who missed on the chance to represent their province last year. It’s a priority for us to get players back onto the performance pathway and on the back of the #NothingLikeIt launch and some additional plans in the works, we’re on our way to ensuring an all-time high for visibility of this event.”
There are new coaching setups for all four provinces in 2021 ahead of the competition’s first weekend.
Neill Alcorn has been appointed Head Coach in Ulster, with former Ulster scrum-half, Paul Marshall taking up the Backs Coach role.
Paul Heasley will be the Athletic Development Lead for the squad, while Emily Millar has been appointed Team Manager.
Munster Rugby Senior Women’s Head Coach for the campaign is Old Crescent and Crescent College Comprehensive coach Matt Brown.
Former Ireland captain and current UL Bohemians Women’s Head Coach Niamh Briggs is the Backs Coach with ex-Munster prop Mike Storey assuming the position of Forwards Coach.
Munster Rugby Women’s Development Officer Willie Shubart is the side’s Technical Coach with UL Bohs forward Sara Hartigan taking the position of Team Manager having previously held that role at the U18s level.
In Leinster, Phil de Barra replaces outgoing head coach Ben Armstrong and is joined for 2021 by forwards coach Tom McKeown, backs coach Stephen Maher and skills coach Ben Watson. Lorna Quinn and Marie Louise Reilly will look after team management.
Former Sligo RFC Head Coach Ross Mannion has been appointed Head Coach of the Connacht Rugby Senior Women’s Team, accompanied by Lyndon Jones as Backs Coach.
Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland said that “Vodafone has been the proud sponsor of Irish Rugby since 2016 and [their] #TeamOfUs campaign is aimed at growing the game of rugby and promoting inclusion for all.
“With that in mind, [they] are delighted this year to support the Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship. Everyone In!”
2021 Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship Schedule
Saturday August 28th 2021 – Round 1
Connacht v Leinster, The Sportsground, 14:30
Ulster v Munster, Kingspan Stadium, 17:00
Saturday September 4th 2021 – Round 2
Munster v Connacht, Musgrave Park, 14:30
Leinster v Ulster, Energia Park, 16:00
Saturday September 11th 2021 – Round 3
Connacht v Ulster, The Sportsground, 14:30
Leinster v Munster, Energia Park, 19:00
Kick-off times TBC.