19 May, 11:13
There are six uncapped players in the Ireland squad for the summer tour to North America that was named this morning. An Emerging Ireland squad has also been selected for the Tblisi Cup in Georgia.
Hosts NUI Galway are Connacht's only representatives and will battle it out with UL and UCC for the Division 1 title, while LIT, CIT, DCU, WIT and Queen's University will complete for Division 2 honours.
Among those who will be competing in Galway are current Connacht Women's captain Alison Miller (UCC), Ashleigh Baxter (QUB), Niamh Kavanagh and Joy Neville (both representing LIT).
All four are members of the Ireland Women's Six Nations team that had an impressive run of form in this year's Championship, eventually finishing third on the back of a heartbreaking one-point defeat to France and record-breaking victories over Italy and Wales.
They will be joined in Galway by international team-mates Laura Guest and Gillian Bourke who coach the UCC and UL teams respectively.
The participation of these international stars is an obvious advantage for the tournament's organising committee who want to emphasise the development of the women's game during the Intervarsities, a point not lost on NUIG captain Louise Kelly.
"It's great to have this kind of support. Organising the tournament has been hard, especially on top of our training," she said.
"Study's been coming a distant second in recent weeks! But players like these show that it's possible to combine study and high-performance sports.
"It's also great to have them on board after a great Six Nations campaign - it can only help boost how Women's college rugby, and Women's rugby in general, is viewed."
The student contingent from the Ireland Women's squad are just a number of high profile players who will be participating in the year's Intervarsities.
Women's college rugby has long been a breeding ground for interprovincial and international talent and the organisers of this year's Championship expect nothing less from next week's performances.
To find out more about the event, please visit the club website, www.nuigwomensrugby.com, or contact Carol Staunton via email@example.com or 0863443604.