The competition is in its second year and has the full support of the IRFU, as it recognises the importance of student rugby in the overall development of the game in Ireland.
Each of the teams will be selected from any students attending third level institutions in each province. The aim of the competition is to giveplayers the opportunity to experience student rugby at representative level and also to develop players who have not yet taken the first step on the representative ladder.To support this, the teams will exclude players whohave already gained representative honors, such as provincial and national U21 XV. This will allow players with potential to be recognised more quickly.
One such player who has benefited from his involvement with the Irish Colleges set up is present Irish International Shane Byrne. He feels
"Some of my best memories in rugby comefrom my student playing days. This competition certainly gives players the opportunity to gain exposure to a higher level of rugby and the chance to claim representative honors."
Representing the IRFU at the launch was Mr. Pat Fitzgerald, who said, "The IRFU believes strongly in the role that student rugby has to play in the game and our support of this shows that through such competitions, wecan add another aspect to the development of our young players."
The format of the competition will see both Munster and Leinster meeting in one semi-final, to be played in Thurles, with Ulster playing Connacht in Monaghan. The second semi final is a repeat of last years final whereConnacht defeated Ulster to be crowned provincial champions. Both semi-finals will be played on March 19th, with the final being played in Dublin on the eve of the RBS Six Nations Championship match betweenIreland and England.