Fixtures And Team Names For Celtic Challenge Confirmed
5th December 2023 By The Editor
The fixtures and team names have been announced for the Celtic Challenge tournament, a cross-border club competition between the IRFU, Scottish Rugby and the WRU, will kick off on Friday, 29 December 2023.
It will span an 11-week period to Sunday, 3 March 2024, with all Irish home games played across three venues; Musgrave Park, Energia Park and Kingspan Stadium.
Following the recently announced return of the Celtic Challenge, the competition has confirmed its new look line-up to feature this season.
The upcoming tournament will be expanded to include two teams from each Union with a total of six teams competing across the Celtic nations; Clovers, Wolfhounds, Edinburgh Rugby, Glasgow Warriors, Brython Thunder, and Gwalia Lightning.
The two Irish teams competing; Clovers and Wolfhounds, will see two provinces combining, Connacht and Munster (Clovers), and Leinster and Ulster (Wolfhounds). In order to provide quality game time and positional cover, there will also be some cross over with the provincial players.
The competition will adopt a new format which will be made up of five rounds. Round 1 will see a derby day clash for the home Unions with their respective sides facing off for the first time.
The play-offs will be made up of three rounds, with each round being hosted by a Home Union as a doubleheader event. The fixtures, which will be determined by the regular round standings, will be the culmination of the competition’s most competitive fixtures as teams go head to head to be crowned this season’s winners.
Gillian McDarby, IRFU Head of Women’s Performance and Pathways, commented:
“The IRFU considers the Celtic Challenge an integral tournament for the development of women’s rugby players in Ireland. It will play a significant role in the player pathway moving forward.
“In its inaugural/pilot season, one team represented each of the home nations (Ireland, Scotland, and Wales). However, for the 2024 season, we have expanded the Cross Border competition to include two teams from each Union.
“The collective goal of the three unions is to elevate the Celtic Challenge to the highest level of competition possible, ensuring that players are in the best position to compete in the Women’s 6N.”
The first game of the competition will see both Irish sides play in a home derby in Musgrave Park on Friday, 29 December. Tickets for all home games will be available through the provinces.