Irish Rugby

IRE v ITA Womens Six Nations 2021

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2 IRFU OFFICIAL MATCH PROGRAMME Just a few short days ago I welcomed Rugby back, virtually, to Energia Park, and I am delighted to once again extend that welcome, especially to our visitors today, Italy. Energia Park, the home to Irish Women's rugby, is a shared home today with our Italian friends, who selfl essly, and sportingly, travelled to Dublin in light of new Covid 19 regulations that would have impacted our players, had they visited Italy. This is the true essence of sport and a great demonstration of the rugby values and we thank coach Andrea Di Giandomenico and all his team for travelling to Dublin to complete the fi xture. This is a big game, and one that simply had to go ahead. Both teams are aiming for a third- place fi nish, and this new format, in its new window, provides us with yet another 'Cup Final' atmosphere, where everything is to play for and the objective for the teams is clear. Italy come to Ireland with huge confi dence off the back of a fantastic win away to Scotland and will be looking to build on that strong performance here today. I know that Adam Griggs and his team will be looking to bounce back straight away from last weekend after a tough outing against a strong French side who go up against England for Championship glory. Recent games between today's two teams have been hard fought affairs and while Ireland overcame Italy in October, as part of the rescheduled 2020 Six Nations, the Italian's achieved a home win in 2019, on their way to a historic second place Six Nations Championship fi nish. While today's game brings down the curtain on the 2021 Six Nations, we hope it is not the last we will see of women playing rugby this season. The IRFU domestic game team are working hard with their provincial counterparts to ensure that women and girls get to play some form of rugby this summer. We believe the demand is there and we will do our best to work with government to ensure a safe return, in some way, shape or form this summer. There is light at the end of the tunnel for those who love to take to the pitch with their friends and teammates – this week saw the launch of Aldi Rugbyathon (details of which are included in today's programme). Planning continues for this year's Canterbury Give It A Try programme, which has grown and grown, to provide a great introduction to rugby for girls who want to enjoy fun, friendship and fi tness this summer – keep an eye out on the IRFU website in the weeks ahead for further information. I once again thank our sponsors, particularly AON, the main sponsor of our women's team, and Canturbury, our kit partner and before I sign off, I want to wish both teams the very best of luck, obviously I will be cheering for Captain Ciara Griffi n and our Irish team, but no matter what the result, the fact that this fi xture has been played despite Covid 19 complications, is a win for everyone who loves this sport. Enjoy the game. Des Kavanagh President, Irish Rugby Football Union A MESSAGE FROM DES KAVANAGH President of the IRFU 2 IRFU OFFICIAL MATCH PROGRAMME

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