Combined Provinces XV to compete in Women’s Celtic Challenge

Home games to be played at Kingspan Stadium on February 4th and 18th

The IRFU has announced that a combined Women’s Provinces XV will take part in a Celtic Challenge competition with teams from Wales and Scotland also set to compete. The new tournament has been set up to provide high performance competition ahead of the 2023 Six Nations.

The Combined Provinces XV will be made up of members of the newly contracted Irish squad as well as players who have impressed at club level and are pushing for Six Nations selection.

The three teams in the competition, one each from Ireland, Scotland (The Thistles) and Wales (Welsh Development XV), will play four matches in total, two at home and two away before the tournament concludes four weeks prior to the start of the Six Nations. The Combined Provinces XV will play their home games at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on February 4th and 18th.

“The Celtic Challenge comes directly after the interprovincial series which will give players the opportunity to build form and match sharpness coming into this new competition,” said Ireland head coach Greg McWilliams, who will also lead this new side alongside John McKee. “As a coaching group it gives us the chance to spend six weeks working with a group of established and emerging players ahead of the Six Nations.”


2023 Celtic Challenge – Combined Provinces XV Fixtures

Welsh Development XV v Combined Provinces XV, Sunday 29th January 2023 – Cardiff Arms Park

Combined Provinces XV v The Thistles, Saturday 4th February 2023 – Kingspan Stadium

Combined Provinces XV v Welsh Development XV, Saturday 18th February 2023 – Kingspan Stadium

The Thistles v Combined Provinces XV, Saturday 25th February 2023 – Venue TBC

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist