‘It’s A Massive Opportunity And I’m Really Looking Forward To It’ – Barrett

Coming off the back of a breakthrough Vodafone Women’s Interprovincial Championship, teenager Clara Barrett is relishing the opportunity to continue her exciting development for the Combined Provinces XV in the inaugural Celtic Challenge competition.

Barrett was one of the stars of the recent Championship, earning the Vodafone Player of the Match award for her brace of tries during Connacht’s win over Ulster in Belfast, and following that up with another double against eventual champions Munster at The Sportsground.

The 19-year-old winger’s performances have earned her a place in the Combined Provinces XV squad for the upcoming four-game Celtic Challenge, with Ireland Women’s Head Coach Greg McWilliams and the National Coaching Team using this as a valuable window to expose young players to cross-border competition.

Barrett’s talent has been known for some time, her performances for Ireland at the U18 Women’s Six Nations Festival last April standing out, a campaign she acknowledges has helped fast-track her development to this point.

Now, the Mayo flyer is ready to step up again as she joined the rest of the Combined Provinces XV squad at the IRFU High Performance Centre in Dublin this week. The team’s first game is away to the WRU Development XV in Cardiff this Sunday at 11am.

Watch an exclusive IrishRugby TV interview with Barrett below.

Combined Provinces XV Squad Announced For Inaugural Celtic Challenge Tournament

Celtic Challenge Fixtures & Results

The Thistles 27 WRU Development XV 29

Sunday 22th January 2023 – Scotstoun Stadium

WRU Development XV v Combined Provinces XV
Sunday 29th January 2023 – Cardiff Arms Park (KO: 11.00am)

Combined Provinces XV v The Thistles
Saturday 4th February 2023 – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast (KO: 4.30pm)

WRU Development XV v The Thistles
Saturday 11th February – Cardiff Arms Park (KO: 4.30pm)

Combined Provinces XV v WRU Development XV
Saturday 18th February 2023 – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, (KO: 4.30pm)

The Thistles v Combined Provinces XV
Saturday 25th February 2023 – DAM Health Stadium (KO: 1.30pm)

IRIS Injury Surveillance Study Findings For 2021/22 Season And Research Collaboration Extension

The Irish Rugby Football Union and the University of Limerick have released the fourth year of findings from the Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) research project, which looks at injury incidence in the Men’s and Women’s All-Ireland League during the 2021/22 season.

We have also produced a focused two-year analysis of Schoolboy Senior Cup surveillance for 2018-2020, authored by researcher Dr Therese Leahy. Due to Covid-19 related player and staff absences during the 2021/22 season limited Schoolboy data was collected for this season.

In 2022 the IRFU and the University of Limerick agreed an eight-year extension of their valuable collaboration on the IRIS project to 2030. Originally formed in 2016, funded by the IRFU, IRIS has expanded nationally and internationally to provide further insight into player welfare at all levels of the game.

IRIS research records the incidence, type, nature and severity of both match and training injuries occurring across the amateur game in Ireland. By monitoring this information the IRFU, with an understanding of injury trends, has developed ‘ENGAGE’; a player robustness and injury prevention programme in order to minimise injury risk and enhance player performance and welfare.


Download the latest All-Ireland League amateur club rugby report

Download the latest Schools Senior Cup rugby report

The club data were compiled by researcher Patrick Dolan across 430 matches (versus 388 for 2019/20) from 21 Men’s All-Ireland League and Women’s All-Ireland League clubs. In the schools game, data from 220 matches at Senior Cup level were recorded. A total of 709 male, 129 female players were registered with the IRIS project for the 2021/22 season, and 339 schoolboy players for the 2018-2020 seasons.

Tom Comyns, Caithriona Yeomans, Patrick Dolan, Lauren Guilfoyle, Ian Kenny, Rod McLoughlin and Kilian Bibby 23/1/2023

IRIS Co-Principal Investigator, Dr Tom Comyns, Strength & Conditioning, IRFU Medical Manager Development Game Dr Caithriona Yeomans, PhD, Doctoral Researcher Patrick Dolan, Doctoral Researcher Lauren Guilfoyle, IRIS Co-Principal Investigator, Professor Ian Kenny, Biomechanics, IRFU Medical Director Dr Rod McLoughlin and Doctoral Researcher Kilian Bibby – Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Injury Frequency

  • A male player would have to play 14 matches to sustain one injury (down from 15). Injury incidence rate 55.0/1,000 player hours (up from 49.1)
  • A female player would have to play 25 matches to sustain one injury (up from 21). Injury incidence rate 29.8/1,000 player hours (down from 34.9)
  • A School Senior Cup player would have to play on average 16 matches to sustain one injury (down from 20). Injury incidence rate 53.6/1,000 player hours

Senior Club Injury Event

53% of match and training injuries are result of the tackle (down from 56%)
61% of tackle related injuries sustained by the ball carrier (up from 47%)
39% of tackle related injuries sustained by the tackler (down from 53%)

Male Club Match Injury Occurrence

7.6/1,000 player hours: concussion (up from 7.1/1,000)
5.3/1,000 player hours: ankle ligament sprain (up from 4.5/1,000)
4.6/1,000 player hours: hamstring strain (up from 2.9/1,000)

Female Club Match Injury Occurrence

3.6/1,000 player hours: concussion (down from 5.6/1,000)
4.8/1,000 player hours: ankle sprains (down from 4.8/1,000)
2.9/1,000 player hours: finger sprains (knee 1.4/1,000 was previously 3rd placed)

School Senior Cup Match Injury Occurrence

7.5/1,000 player hours: concussion (down from 9.6/1,000)
7.0/1,000 player hours: ankle sprain (up from 4.1/1,000)
5.2/1,000 player hours: ACJ sprain (up from 3.2/1,000 – 2018/19)

Dr. Rod McLoughlin, the IRFU’s Medical Director, said:

“The IRFU is delighted to renew its support of the IRIS Project, through to 2030, which will see three additional PhD researchers join the IRIS Research Team. Injury and illness surveillance is at the heart of the Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) project. It is a fundamental component of focused efforts to protect the health of the players. Carefully designed injury surveillance programmes, accurate data capture and careful analysis are building blocks that help us keep players safe and ensure everyone can play the game to their fullest potential.

“This second phase of the IRIS Project will see expansion across both the boys’ and girls’ schools’ game, investigation of mental health and injury burden and further development of evidence-based injury prevention strategies.

“The IRFU is dedicated to enhancing player welfare and improving performance across the game, and results from the IRIS project have led to the development of a nationwide rugby readiness and robustness programme. The IRFU ENGAGE programme, which was launched in September 2021, further helps players prepare for the demands of the game and continue performing to their best.”

IRFU IRIS Report – Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ben Brady

Dr. Tom Comyns, IRIS co-principal investigator at the University of Limerick, commented: “Comprehensive injury surveillance systems in amateur Rugby Union recommenced within the male and female club setting during the 2021/22 season following the lack of training, games and surveillance during the 2020/21 season due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This has allowed the project to continue to provide insight into key injury surveillance variables, such as match-injury incidence rates, injury frequency, match injury event and injury occurrence.

The 2021/22 season also saw the implementation of a research project examining the effectiveness and feasibility of the IRFU ENGAGE programme by PhD researcher Patrick Dolan which has been designed in response to key findings from the IRIS surveillance research to date and aims to reduce the injury rates of players and thus enhance player welfare.

IRIS project team and principal investigators would like to thank the continued support of the clubs and schools in this innovative project and welcome the extension of funding and support from the IRFU to 2030.”

Prof. Ian Kenny, IRIS co-principal investigator at the University of Limerick, added,

“The pandemic primarily impacted schools surveillance over the past two seasons. No school competitions ran during the 2020-2021 season and while some surveillance took place during the 2021-2022 season, this was very limited in schools due to the direct effects of Covid-19 on school Rugby staff and player absences.

“The injury report is compiled to give an overview of injury trends in Senior Cup school Rugby across two seasons, 2018-2019 and will be a useful comparison for everyone involved in the forthcoming 2022/23 schools season, which greatly expanded recruitment nationwide but particularly into Leinster this season.”

The IRIS group are working closely with the IRFU to use these data to answer pertinent questions for the game for example on artificial surface injury trends, ENGAGE injury reduction programme effects, and women’s game specific issues.”

Ireland Squad Begin Guinness Six Nations Prep In Dublin

After assembling in Dublin on Tuesday, the Ireland squad stepped up their preparations for the Guinness Six Nations today with their first full day of training at the IRFU High Performance Centre.

Andy Farrell‘s squad came together yesterday ahead of the 2023 Championship and will travel to Portugal on Thursday for a warm-weather training camp in advance of the opening game against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, 4 February.

Check out the best training images from today’s session.

Ireland Squad Assemble At IRFU High Performance Centre

The Ireland squad assembled at their training base at the IRFU High Performance Centre on Tuesday morning, as preparations get underway for the Guinness Six Nations.

With just 11 days to go until the Championship opener against Wales in Cardiff, Andy Farrell‘s men got straight to work in Dublin earlier. They’ll spend two days together at the IRFU High Performance Centre before travelling to Portugal on Thursday for a warm-weather training camp.

Check out all the pictures from the first day in camp below.

Rugby’s Greatest Championship Is Back

Rugby’s greatest championship, the Guinness Six Nations, returns and we have the media day launch photos to prove it.  Starting on February 4th, at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff  when Ireland face Wales, before all roads lead to another blockbuster Super Saturday, with the final game between Ireland and England on Saint Patricks Day Weekend.

Check out the photos from today’s media launch.