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Three former internationals at the helm as Ireland's first-ever women's U20 side launched

Fiona Hayes will be the team’s head coach, with Alison Miller and Jenny Murphy also involved.

NEW GROUND HAS been broken today with the announcement that Ireland will have its first-ever national women’s U20 team.

coaches Triple threat: Jenny Murphy, Fiona Hayes and Alison Miller. Source: Inpho.

Rugby Academy Ireland [RAI] launched the representative team earlier today, with the news coming as an exciting prospect for the development of women’s rugby in Ireland.

Three former international stars in Fiona Hayes, Alison Miller and Jenny Murphy make up the coaching team, all having won at least one Six Nations title and played at a World Cup.

Successful UL Bohemians and Munster U18 boss Hayes takes on the role of head coach, while Old Belvedere duo Miller and Murphy have been named backs coach and skills coach respectively. 

The RAI — a private Kildare-based academy for aspiring professionals — say the purpose of the team is two-fold: To foster talent in this age group and provide players with exposure to international rugby, and to help prevent the dropout of 35 young female players.

While women’s rugby in Ireland — spearheaded by Adam Griggs’ national senior side — is at an all-time popularity high, the pathway is not a straightforward one.

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With no school’s system and no U20s structure, player dropout is a huge issue. This team aims to prevent that, supporting young players in their transition from underage to senior rugby, and exposing them to high-performance coaching and games.

With trials taking place in Naas on Thursday, 29 October, the chosen squad will train together once-a-month and will face another U20 side in England at the end of the season.

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss the provinces’ 2020/21 starts, the South African-infused Pro16, and the schools-versus-clubs dynamic in Ireland


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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Emma Duffy

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