Ireland women's head coach Greg McWilliams has named a panel of 42 players that will compete in the Celtic Challenge competition against their counterparts from Scotland and Wales.

Leinster's Hannah O’Connor and Munster’s Enya Breen have been named co-captains.

In the first year of the tournament, with the Vodafone sponsored Combined Provinces XV will play in two home and two away games over a six-week period. The first game of the competition took place over the weekend with WRU Development XV defeating The Thistles 29-27 at Scotstoun Stadium.

The Combined Provinces XV will play their two home games at Kingspan Stadium, facing the Scottish Thistles on Saturday 4 February and the WRU Development XV on Saturday 18 February.

The Irish sides’ first fixture of the competition is away to their Welsh counterparts this coming Sunday at the Cardiff Arms Park. The competition concludes with a game away to The Thistles, four weeks out from the start of the TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championship


WRU Development XV v Combined Provinces XV Sunday 29 January – Cardiff Arms Park, 11am

Combined Provinces XV v The Thistles - Saturday 4 February – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, 4.30pm

WRU Development XV v The Thistles - Saturday 11th February – Cardiff Arms Park, 4.30pm

Combined Provinces XV v WRU Development XV - Saturday 18 February – Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, 4.30pm

The Thistles v Combined Provinces XV - Saturday 25 February 2023 – DAM Health Stadium, 1.30pm.

Looking ahead to the competition, coach McWilliams said: "This is an exciting new competition that provides a really excellent opportunity for our extended squad of players to prepare for the TikTok Women's Six Nations and gain valuable competitive experience and exposure to high level competition.

"The Celtic Challenge provides us as a national coaching group with a window to work closely with players we’ve been tracking throughout the All-Ireland League and the recent Women’s Interprovincial Championship.

"It is an exciting group of players, combining youth and experience, and it will be invaluable for us to come together as a group for an extended period to build cohesion and connections ahead of the Six Nations campaign. We’re looking forward to the challenge over the coming weeks."