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Six Nations: New step for women's game

NEWS: Six Nations is introducing the first of its kind Six Nations Women’s Series, which will debut this July, in Parma, Italy.

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Starting on July 4, 2024, and running until the 14th, the inaugural development competition will feature all Six Nations teams and include three competitive match days, designed to offer a new opportunity for international rugby experience.

The Women’s Series is intended to offer players a vital new opportunity to graduate through the development pathway, from the Under-18 level. For those players who may have missed the Under-18 entry point onto the rugby pathway, the Women’s Series opens another route to the international game.

Similar to the Six Nations Under-18 Festivals, each union will involve coaches and match officials from their respective nation, to ensure it is not only the players that are offered the opportunity to gain vital experience and develop alongside each other.

The format of the Women’s Series will see three match days, on July 4, 9, and 14 with teams made up of predominately Under-20 players, but with each union able to select up to three Under-23 players per match day squad.

Commenting on the introduction of the new Six Nations Women’s Series, Julie Paterson, Chief of Rugby at Six Nations, said: “The development pathway is an essential part of the strategy and commitment of Six Nations, and the six unions and federations, to proactively support the creation and growth of opportunities in the women’s game.

“The ability for the players, coaches, and match officials to gain rugby experience and exposure to a structured international pathway are vital elements of the mission to motivate the long-term, sustainable development of the women’s game. Introducing the Women’s Series delivers on this mission and commitment.

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“Over the last three years, the Women’s Under-18s Festivals have provided a competitive and successful development platform. We are now able to offer the next phase for players, coaches, and match officials to graduate to, and continue to gain experience.

“Performances from England and France in the senior Women’s Six Nations have highlighted the benefit a successful development infrastructure, and thriving domestic club game, can accelerate the develop of players. The combination of the Under-18 Festivals and now the Women’s Series, provides an opportunity for rugby experience to be gained for the benefit of all six unions and federations.

“With energy and enthusiasm, coupled with patience and support, the pathway will feed through to the elite women’s game.

“Thanks needs to be given to the Italian Federation, who previously hosted a Men’s Series, and will once again put on an incredible experience for everyone involved in the Women’s event this July. Credit needs to be shared across all six unions and federations for the continued collaboration to bring to life a new and ambitious development platform for the sport.”

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England U20 Women’s head coach, LJ Lewis, said: “Our spring fixtures gave us plenty of lessons to take into July. We’ve integrated many new players and put our plans into action – it’s been a rewarding process for myself, Sarah and our staff.

“The Women’s Pathway deserves a tournament like this to bridge the development gap between the age-grade and senior levels. Our girls are determined to make the most of this new opportunity for them.

“The Red Roses have served as a massive source of inspiration for us in recent months – now, it’s time for us to make our imprint on the tournament.”

Six Nations: New step for women's game

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