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May 01, 2024

Warriors to compete in expanded Celtic Challenge

Posted by Editor on May 1, 2024 10:23 AM | No comments | Print | E-mail author

Glasgow Warriors will once again compete in the Celtic Challenge next season, with the competition set to expand to a new 10-round format ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

The club's inaugural women's team were an immediate hit with the Warrior Nation when they first took to the field in December 2023, with 36 players going on to represent Glasgow Warriors across their first foray into the Celtic Challenge.

Set to kick-off in December, the 2024/25 competition will continue its expansion, growing to a full league season of 10 rounds which will see the six teams - two from Ireland and two from Wales, in addition to Glasgow Warriors and Edinburgh Rugby - play five home and five away fixtures each, before concluding their season in March ahead of the Guinness Women's Six Nations 2025.

The overall winner will be determined based on league table standings at the end of the 30-game season.

The 2023/24 season - the first after a successful pilot year - saw some impressive gains across all countries, with 68 players from the Celtic Challenge going on to feature in this year's Guinness Women's Six Nations competition, including eight making their full international debut for their respective countries, and increasing the opportunities available to home-grown talent in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Glasgow Warriors saw three players - Louise McMillan, Mairi McDonald and Coreen Grant - that had featured for the club across the Celtic Challenge also represent Scotland, whilst Beth Blacklock, Nikki Simpson and Holland Bogan were also involved with the squad in varying capacities across the 2024 Guinness Women's Six Nations.

The competition also saw growth off the pitch with increased attendances recorded and broadcast partnerships cemented with BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, and Rugby Pass TV, with all matches streamed live, driving visibility around the world and bringing new fans to the game.

The Celtic Challenge is the first Women's cross-border Club competition, organised by the IRFU, Scottish Rugby, and WRU with support from World Rugby. The tournament provides a high-performance platform for young female players and helps bridge the gap between the domestic and international women's games in the three Celtic nations.

Speaking following the announcement, Glasgow Warriors Managing Director, Al Kellock, said: "We're pleased to be able to confirm that our women's squad will once again be competing in the Celtic Challenge - it's a competition that has the potential to provide a new platform and a new opportunity for some of Scotland's brightest talents, and one that proved extremely popular with our supporters in its first season.

"The newly-expanded competition will also allow our supporters to further get behind their newest Warriors, with the atmosphere at Scotstoun something that each of our players noted across their involvement in the Celtic Challenge this season.

"We're proud to be involved once more, and we look forward to seeing our women's squad run out at Scotstoun again later this year."