Aoife Doyle in action against Japan last November. Dan Sheridan/INPHO
going east

Ireland women to visit Japan for two-Test invitational tour this August

World Rugby have invited Ireland to assist Japan with their preparations for October’s World Cup.

IRELAND WILL VISIT Japan for a two-Test tour this August following an invitation from World Rugby to assist the Japanese with their preparations for this year’s World Cup.

An extended Ireland squad will come together for a series of camps at the IRFU High Performance Centre this summer before travelling to Japan in August for back-to-back matches against the host nation.

Greg McWilliams’ young side will begin the series against the host nation at Ecopa Stadium in Fukuroi City, Shizuoka on Saturday 20 August. A second Test against Lesley McKenzie’s Sakura Fifteen will take place a week later, on Saturday 27 August, at Chichibunomiya Rugby Stadium in Tokyo.

The two teams most recently faced each other during the 2021 November Tests at the RDS in Dublin, with Ireland earning a 15-12 win.

Japan, ranked 12th in the world, are coming off the back of a historic Test win over Australia and are currently preparing for October’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, for which the previous iteration of this Ireland side failed to qualify.

“The TikTok Women’s Six Nations was the first staging post on our journey together as a squad and a summer programme, including two Tests against Japan, is an exciting opportunity for us to build on that,” said Ireland boss McWilliams.

We will come together as an extended squad in July and it will be invaluable for us as a coaching staff to have the chance to work with a number of new players, including those who have impressed in the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League and in the recent U18 Women’s Six Nations Festival.

“The invitational series will then give us the opportunity to spend time together as a group, build cohesion, learn and grow and test ourselves against a very strong Japan team in their home conditions. It will be a hugely beneficial development opportunity for us as we work hard to progress as a team.”

Ireland captain Nichola Fryday said that her side finished their Six Nations campaign “on a high with that memorable win over Scotland in Belfast to secure third place”, adding that “it is now exciting for us to turn our attention to an Invitational Series against Japan this summer.

“We are in the process of building under Greg the coaching team and it is important we continue to move forward with contact time together and exposure to Test match situations, which the invitational series will provide.

“It will be hugely exciting to lead the group in Japan and we will work hard over the coming weeks and months to continue on an upward trajectory on this journey, heading towards 2023 TikTok Women’s Six Nations and beyond.”

Kick-off times and broadcast details for the two-Test series will be confirmed in due course.

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