London Irish: Premiership club served winding-up petition by HMRC
Decision day on final four in Premier15s
The final line-up for the Allianz Premier 15s semi-finals will be decided in the final round of fixtures in the regular league campaign this weekend (Saturday, 3 June). Gloucester-Hartpury have already clinched top spot and will host either Bristol Bears in a west country derby or former champions Harlequins in one semi-final. They welcome second […]
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London Irish crisis deepens after HMRC issue winding-up petition against club
- HMRC’s intervention for an unpaid tax suggests end is nigh
- Government appoints advisers to aid RFU with financial crisis
London Irish have been pushed closer to the brink after being hit with a winding-up petition by HMRC with the government on Friday also appointing two independent advisers in an effort to drag rugby union out of its financial crisis.
Irish are expected to be suspended from the Premiership on Tuesday and become the third club in the space of eight months to be kicked out of the league. The chances of the protracted takeover by a US consortium being completed before next Tuesday’s deadline are rated as slim with the Rugby Football Union still awaiting key information from buyers, as it has been for months. The initial deadline was last week but was extended by the RFU primarily to allow for players and staff to be paid May’s wages.Continue reading...
Dan Evans: Wales and Ospreys full-back announces retirement
Collaboration commits to advance wheelchair rugby
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has announced a five year collaborative partnership with Disability Sport Wales and Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby in a joint commitment to advance the sport of wheelchair rugby in Wales following the success of the 2023 European Wheelchair Rugby Championship at Principality Stadium last month. Nigel Walker, WRU Acting CEO said, […]
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Season Plan Confirmed For 2023/24 IRFU Club Competitions
Season structure for the Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Divisions and Women’s Division has been confirmed for 2023/24.
The wider season plan was agreed at the most recent meeting of the IRFU Rugby Committee following a series of engagements with participating clubs through the AIL Men’s and Women’s Divisional Forums.
The Club International Series for Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division players will take place for the first time in four years. Ireland Club XV will play a two-game series in a home/away format on March 8th and March 15th 2024.
The semi-finals of the Energia Bateman Cup have been brought forward to the start of the season with the final scheduled for January 6th 2024.
Both Men’s and Women’s Divisions of Energia AIL will feature ‘No Rugby Weekends’ for the first time this season. These weekends are separate to reserve weekends in the calendar to allow players, coaches and volunteers to manage their time away from rugby. The first No Rugby Weekend will coincide with the Rugby World Cup 2023 Final on October 28th.
The finals weekend for both the Men’s and Women’s Divisions are scheduled for Sunday April 28th 2024. The IRFU are currently working to align these finals to the same venue with details to follow.
The Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship will revert to the autumn window and take place over four rounds to add a finals day to the traditional round-robin. The competition will run between August 12th and September 2nd with fixture details to be confirmed in due course.
There’s a return to home and away fixtures in the regular season of the Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Division with Round 1 set for the weekend of Saturday September 16th 2023.
As advised in April, the nine teams who participated in the 2022/23 season will be retained and provisions to expand the number of participating teams into 2024/25 and beyond are being developed.
The Energia All-Ireland Women’s Cup has been retained and will take place over three weekends in January 2024.
IRFU National Competitions Committee and Women’s Sub Committee member Lorna Byrne says:
“We’ve had significant discussions with club and player representatives in recent weeks, mainly through the AIL Forum, and reinstating home and away games in the regular AIL season featured heavily.”
“The implementation of No Rugby Weekends was welcomed by all stakeholders and with the Celtic Challenge series set to expand this season we’ve worked to minimise crossover.
“The high performance calendar runs parallel to the Energia AIL season. Our elite players will always have a home in the AIL, and the AIL will continue to serve the 90% of players for whom it’s their highest form of competition.
“Clubs also recognise the value of cup competitions as a secondary opportunity for silverware so we’ve restructured it into the January window.”
To help manage the length of the overall season, semi-finals have been removed from the AIL competition for 2023/24. The teams that finish 1st and 2nd in the regular season league table will contest the final.
IRFU Competitions Manager Kevin Beggs added:
“The global calendar is coming into effect and so we were able to map out the domestic season for the coming 12 months with a much clearer picture of what the high performance calendar looks like.”
“What clubs want is consistency and that’s what we’re working towards. This structure will move us into a multi-year format and make it easier to map out games in three week blocks, which is something we know players in both the men’s and women’s divisions want.”
Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship:
Round 1: Weekend of Saturday August 12th 2024
Round 2: Weekend of Saturday August 19th 2024
Round 3: Weekend of Saturday August 26th 2024
Finals: Weekend of Saturday September 2nd 2024
Energia Bateman Cup:
Semi-Finals: Saturday September 30th 2023
Final: Saturday January 6th 2024
2024 Club International Series:
Series Game 1: Friday March 8th 2024
Series Game 2: Friday March 15th 2024
Energia All-Ireland Women’s Cup:
Round 1: Weekend of January 6th 2024
Round 2: Weekend of January 20th 2024
Cup/Plate/Shield Final: Weekend of January 27th 2024
Energia All-Ireland Men’s Junior Cup:
Round of 16: Saturday October 7th 2023
Quarter-Finals: Saturday November 18th 2023
Semi-Finals: Saturday December 16th 2023
Final: Saturday January 27th 2024
Energia All-Ireland Women’s Junior Cup:
Energia All-Ireland League Promotion Playoffs:
Semi-Finals: Saturday April 6th 2024
Final: Saturday April 13th 2024
IRFU Men’s Junior Interprovincial Series:
Round 1: Saturday April 27th 2024
Round 2: Saturday May 4th 2024
Round 3: Saturday May 11th 2024
IRFU Fraser McMullen Cup:
Quarter-Finals: Weekend of Saturday March 30th 2024
Semi-Finals: Weekend of Saturday April 6th 2024
Final: Weekend of Saturday April 13th 2024
Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Divisions 2023/24:
Round 1: Weekend of Saturday October 7th 2023
Round 2: Weekend of Saturday October 14th 2023
Round 3: Weekend of Saturday October 21st 2023
NO RUGBY WEEKEND – Weekend of Saturday October 28th 2023
Round 4: Weekend of Saturday November 4th 2023
Round 5: Weekend of Saturday November 11th 2023
Round 6: Weekend of Saturday November 18th 2023
Round 7: Weekend of Saturday December 2nd 2023
Round 8: Weekend of Saturday December 9th 2023
Round 9: Weekend of Saturday December 16th 2023
Round 10: Weekend of Saturday January 13th 2024
Round 11: Weekend of Saturday January 20th 2024
Round 12: Weekend of Saturday January 27th 2024
Round 13: Weekend of Saturday February 10th 2024
Round 14: Weekend of Saturday February 17th 2024
NO RUGBY WEEKEND – Weekend of Saturday February 24th 2024
Round 15: Weekend of Saturday March 2nd 2024
Round 16: Weekend of Saturday March 23rd 2024
Round 17: Weekend of Saturday March 30th 2024
Round 18: Weekend of Saturday April 6th 2024
Play-Off Semi-Finals: Weekend of Saturday April 20th 2024
Energia All-Ireland League Men’s Division and Play-Off Finals: Weekend of Saturday April 27th 2024
Energia All-Ireland League Women’s Divisions 2023/24:
Round 1: Weekend of Saturday September 16th 2023
Round 2: Weekend of Saturday September 23rd 2023
Round 3: Weekend of Saturday October 7th 2023
Round 4: Weekend of Saturday October 14th 2023
Round 5: Weekend of Saturday October 21st 2023
NO RUGBY WEEKEND – Weekend of Saturday October 28th 2023
Round 6: Weekend of Saturday November 4th 2023
Round 7: Weekend of Saturday November 11th 2023
Round 8: Weekend of Saturday November 18th 2023
Round 9: Weekend of Saturday December 2nd 2023
Round 10: Weekend of Saturday December 9th 2023
Round 11: Weekend of Saturday February 10th 2024
Round 12: Weekend of Saturday February 17th 2024
NO RUGBY WEEKEND – Weekend of Saturday February 24th 2024
Round 13: Weekend of Saturday March 2nd 2024
Round 14: Weekend of Saturday March 9th 2024
Round 15: Weekend of Saturday March 16th 2024
Round 16: Weekend of Saturday March 30th 2024
Round 17: Weekend of Saturday April 6th 2024
Round 18: Weekend of Saturday April 6th 2024
Energia All-Ireland Women’s Division Final: Weekend of Saturday April 27th 2024
Scarlets: Ex-Springbok Albert van den Berg joins new look coaching team
Alun Wyn Jones: Wales legend has played final Ospreys game
Six Nations Confirms Bank Of Ireland Nations Series On Prime In UK
Six Nations Rugby have confirmed that Ireland’s Bank of Ireland Nations Series matches against Italy, England and Samoa in August will all be available on Prime Video in the UK. An announcement on TV coverage in Ireland will be made in due course.
Prime Video will show 13 matches across the Six Nations as part of their coverage in the UK. The final international fixtures before this year’s Rugby World Cup, feature all Six Nations sides: England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Italy, and France.
In addition to the Six Nations teams, the Southern Hemisphere powerhouses Australia, and World Champions South Africa will also feature, alongside, Japan, Fiji, Samoa, Romania, and Georgia, providing a blockbuster set of fixtures for fans to look forward to.
Prime Video will broadcast 13 Summer Nations Series fixtures from Saturday 5th August through to Sunday 27th August, featuring:
• Saturday 5th August: Scotland v France
• Saturday 5th August: Wales v England
• Saturday 5th August: Ireland v Italy
• Saturday 12th August: England v Wales
• Saturday 12th August: France v Scotland
• Saturday 19th August: Wales v South Africa
• Saturday 19th August: Ireland v England
• Saturday 19th August: Italy v Romania
• Saturday 19th August: France v Fiji
• Saturday 26th August: Scotland v Georgia
• Saturday 26th August: Italy v Japan
• Saturday 26th August: Ireland v Samoa
• Sunday 27th August: France v Australia
Prime Video has been the UK broadcast partner of the annual Autumn Nations Series since 2021, which is organised by Six Nations Rugby, and has become one of the most popular annual experiences on the international rugby calendar.
The Autumn Series makes way for Rugby World Cup this year, but before the tournament kicks off, the Summer Nations Series offers another opportunity for fans to enjoy some of the biggest names in rugby, with coverage on Prime Video in the UK.
Prime members will be able to watch the Summer Nations Series anywhere and anytime on the Prime Video app for smart TVs, mobile devices, Fire TV, Fire TV stick, Fire tablets, games consoles, on Virgin’s V6 TV Box, the TalkTalk TV set top box, Sky Q, Apple TV, Chromecast, BT TV, or online at www.amazon.co.uk/primevideo.
In the Prime Video app, Prime members can download episodes on their mobile devices and tablets and watch anywhere offline at no additional cost. Prime Video is available in the UK and Ireland at no extra cost to a Prime membership.
New customers can find out more at amazon.co.uk/prime and subscribe to a free 30-day trial.
Welsh trio target Olympics qualification with Team GB
Jasmine Joyce will be joined by Morgan and Tom Williams in competing for Team GB in Rugby Sevens at the Kraków-Małopolska 2023 European Games between 21 June-2 July. Team GB have selected a squad of 178 athletes to compete at the third staging of the event, with Rugby Sevens making its debut. The winners of […]
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Rhys Carre: Cardiff prop released from Wales World Cup squad for ‘failing to meet targets’
IRFU Opt Into World Rugby Tackle Trial
The IRFU Union Committee have formally voted to opt into World Rugby’s global trial to lower the tackle height in the community game to below the line of the sternum.
It follows an earlier vote by the IRFU Rugby Committee and an extensive community consultation process with Irish Rugby stakeholders.
The trial will apply to all amateur IRFU and provincial competitions at age-grade and adult levels in clubs and schools for the 2023/24 and 2024/25 seasons.
New World Rugby and laboratory studies have shown that head injury risk is at its highest when tackles are made to the head and shoulder and lowest when tackles are made to the belly area.
The purpose of this trial will be to incentivise greater use of the belly tackle and ultimately reduce incidents of head-on-head impact in the tackle.
For more information see https://www.irishrugby.ie/playing-the-game/tackle-behaviour/
For the purposes of the trial World Rugby Union Law 9.13 will read as follows:
IRFU Tackle Height Law Trial – 2023/24 and 2024/25:
“Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the sternum* even if the tackle starts below the line of the sternum.”
*Previously: Shoulder (a horizontal line drawn from top of one armpit to the other)
Rucks and Mauls will not be affected by this law trial as they are covered under Law 9.20 (Dangerous Play In A Ruck Or Maul).
Nearly half of all tackles involve more than one tackler and so for the purpose of clarity, the legal tackle height of below the sternum would apply to all tacklers.
A law trial would not change the ability for an attacking team to carry out a “pick-and-go” play, but law application guidelines may apply where any player has initiated shoulder-to-head/neck or head-to-head/neck contact.
Rugby Union Law 9.11 currently states that: “Players must not do anything that is reckless or dangerous to others including leading with the elbow or forearm, or jumping into, or over, a tackler.” As always, a strict approach will be applied to reckless or dangerous play by a ball carrier.
This will include a ball carrier leading with their head or initiating contact with their head.
IRFU Rugby Development Director Colin McEntee commented:
“Based on the findings of the community consultation process, there is a critical mass of stakeholders who are clearly open to change for the good of the game.”
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who engaged with us throughout – the constructive feedback we received on both sides of the argument has shaped how we’ll be implementing the trial and supporting everyone in making it a success for the future of our sport.”
“The trial itself won’t present any significant changes to how we coach the tackle – it’s only the matter of a few centimetres.
“But it is a significant element of a wider drive to improve tackle behaviours.
“From next week, players, coaches and match officials can look forward to a new suite of resources being rolled out across the summer.”
The Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) project monitors injury trends in the Energia AIL Men’s Divisions and Women’s Division as well as Senior Schools competitions. IRIS will continue to monitor these trends and track the trial over the next two seasons.
Additional tools are also being developed for measuring and monitoring changes to the game, including continued stakeholder feedback.
IRFU Community Consultation Process – Summary
PHASE 1 – Internal Assessment (JAN-FEB ’23)
- IRFU Medical Dept presented new evidence from existing trials, studies and medical research to IRFU Union Committee.
- IRFU Union Committee voted to commence consultation process.
- Irish Rugby staff consultations – 100+ IRFU and provincial staff.
PHASE 2 – Community Notification (MAR ’23)
- Detailed memo published and issued to club honorary secretaries and school principals with overview of consultation process.
- IRFU Medical Dept information guide published and distributed.
- World Rugby proposal distributed.
- World Rugby invited to present to Irish Rugby stakeholders.
PHASE 3 – Community Engagement (MAR – APR ’23)
- 500+ Webinar Registrations for Consultation Process Overview, World Rugby Proposal Overview and Presentation From World Rugby On The Case For Lowering Tackle Height In Community Rugby.
- All participants invited to ask questions and provide feedback.
- All participants take part in sentiment survey.
- IRFU publish details of proposed law-trial to lower tackle height.
- IRFU share invite to World Rugby Player Welfare & Laws Symposium event on Tackle Height.
- Scottish Rugby tackle height case study published.
- Written feedback form added to IrishRugby.ie.
PHASE 4 – Evaluation & Recommendation (APR-MAY ’23)
- 100+ attend series of open engagements with IRFU/Provincial Staff; Match Officials; Age-Grade & Schools stakeholders; Junior & Senior Club stakeholders.
- Participants invited to share feedback on proposed law trial
- Participants asked to take part in polls to capture sentiment.
- Evaluation of feedback captured during consultation process.
- Formal recommendation to IRFU Rugby Committee
- IRFU Rugby Committee and IRFU Union Committee vote to opt into global trial.
IRFU Tackle Behaviour Working Group: Tanya Abbas, Kevin Beggs, Sean Brassil, Colm Finnegan, Alex Hunter, Dr Jennifer Kavanagh, Colin McEntee, Dr Rod McLoughlin, Colin Moran, Ultan O’Callaghan, Ross O’Donoghue, Dudley Phillips, Jamie Turkington, Dr Caithriona Yeomans.
Karl Wilkins: Northampton Saints back row joins French club US Montauban
Aviva launches LGBTQ+ Pride Socks At ‘Allyship Alley’ In Aviva Stadium
Aviva Ireland, proud sponsor of Aviva Stadium launched its Pride month activity with ambassador and former Ireland Rugby player Devin Toner, alongside his former Leinster teammate Nick McCarthy at Aviva Stadium.
Aviva have moved the dial for Pride this year by highlighting and encouraging the public to be an ally and support the LGBTQ+ community to feel accepted, included and celebrated. Toner himself has personal experience as an ally with his former teammate being one of the first players in world rugby to come out while still playing professionally.
To show the importance and symbolism of the Pride colours, Aviva will also be placing a giant Pride flag decal at Aviva Stadium’s corner tunnel which will be dubbed ‘Allyship Alley’ for the month of June, it will also be visible during the Rep. of Ire v Gibraltar match on 19th June. This is part of an effort by Aviva calling on the wider public to wear their Pride and show they have #GotWhatItTakes to be an ally to the LGBTQ+ community.
The specially designed Pride socks, priced at €10, were created in partnership with sustainable Irish clothing brand, Human collective, and are available to purchase at aviva.ie/pride.
For every pair of socks sold, Aviva will be matching the sale and donating €10 to Belong To. To further support this, Aviva will donating €10 for every new home policy bought during the month of June to the charity.
Commenting on the announcement, Brian O’Neill, Head of Communications, Sponsorship & Sustainability at Aviva Ireland, said: “We are delighted to launch our Pride activity with Allyship ally at Aviva Stadium and the Pride Socks with proceeds going to Belong To, a vital youth service for the LGBTQ+ community. Equality and inclusion are two values that we place great value in at Aviva and having such a visual representation of our support like Allyship Alley makes us very proud. Thanks also to Devin Toner and Nick McCarthy who we’re delighted to have come on board and help us to launch our Pride activity.”
Moninne Griffith, CEO of Belong To also commented at the launch:
“On behalf of Belong To, I’d like to express my gratitude to Aviva for partnering with us and putting together such a strong show of support for the LGBTQ+ community. The proceeds from the sale of Aviva’s Pride socks and donations from the sale of new home insurance policies during the month of June, will have a massively positive impact on the level of service we can provide.”
For more information, to purchase your Pride socks, or get a quote, visit: aviva.ie/pride