The IRFU has announced an integrated season plan spanning the 13-month period the Ireland Women’s squad have to prepare for the Women’s Rugby World Cup Qualifiers that take place in September 2020.
Ireland’s disappointing performance at the World Cup we hosted in 2017 dropped them back into having to qualify to take part in the next edition to be hosted in New Zealand.
It also prompted a serious root and branch review of the Women’s game, led by Su Carty and Mary Quinn, the fruits of which are evident in this detailed plan to bring the team back to where it was a few short years ago.
It is not only at international level though with the plan also incorporating the newly sponsored Energia All Ireland League and an interprovincial Championship which will see Leinster Rugby’s Women’s team play a first double header after the Men’s team face Coventry as part of their Bank of Ireland pre-season campaign.
The process commences with a national camp in early August this year which is followed by an extended five-week IRFU Women’s Interprovincial Championship.
The Energia Women’s All-Ireland League kicks off in early October in tandem with a series of national camps, including a training camp in Scotland, ahead of two international matches in November, the details of which have yet to be announced.
Following the two November games, the players will switch their focus back to the Energia AIL before returning to the national fold for camps and training games in January ahead of the 2020 Women’s Six Nations Championship.
The business end of the league and cup competitions will close out the regular season with players of national interest being managed through a four-week off-season to the end of May.
From the end of May through to the end of August there will be a series of nine national camps, including training games, to prepare for the three Women’s Rugby World Cup qualifying games that will take place over the course of September 2020.
The Women’s Sevens team failing to advance to an Olympic repechage was tough to bear at the weekend but in the long term might yet place more of the emphasis back on 15’s. Countries like England who will be competing on both fronts will at least have their advances slowed down as Ireland puts in place a coherent plan to catch up.
In this video produced for Irish Rugby by Videos On The net, Anthony Eddy talks through the plans and there are some great shots of the new irish Rugby training facilities out at the National Sports Campus.