The Irish Universities Rugby Union (IURU) is the representative body for University Rugby Union in Ireland. The IURU and its member clubs are committed to developing the full academic, personal and sporting potential of all our players and members in a respectful, safe and enjoyable environment.
Working closely together with the IRFU, the IURU is dedicated to the growth of 3rd level rugby through maximising opportunity, participation, and accessibility to the game of rugby for all players, male and female, regardless of standard.
The IURU organises four domestic 15 – a – side tournaments on an annual basis. The competitions were previously run in a “Festival of Rugby” format which was held on one day and in one location each year. Due to the success and scale of the competitions in previous years (over 25 teams and up to 550 players), in the 2018/19 season the competitions return to four standalone competitions, on different dates and at different venues, as follows:
The Dudley Cup (Senior Men) adopted a challenge format, with firstly UCD RFC retaining the Cup against UCC RFC on a score line of 39 – 28 in Belfield on 6 October 2018. The second challenge took place in Belfast on 16 November 2018, where QUB RFC rose to the occasion and overcame UCD in a score line of 29 – 24. QUB RFC are due to defend the Cup in a third challenge with DUFC later in 2019. The new format has already provided to be very successful and has invigorated this prestigious competition;
The Conroy Cup (U20 Men) was played for in blitz format at UCC RFC on Saturday 20 October 2018. Following a series of pool games at the Farm, the play-offs took place in the Mardyke where DUFC overcame UCD in the final by 20-9 to retain the Cup and complete an historic 5-in-a-row series;
The Kay Bowen Cup (Senior Women) will played for in a blitz format at MU Barnhall RFC on Wednesday 13 February 2019;
The Maughan Scally Cup (Junior Men) will be played for in blitz format at University of Ulster, Coleraine on Saturday 23 March 2019.
In addition to the above, the IURU will also support the two Student Sevens competitions with qualifiers at DCU, Dublin and CIT, Cork on 27 March 2019, and finals at MU Barnhall RFC on 10 April 2019.
Collectively, these competitions demonstrate the breadth, depth and vibrancy of rugby activity across the Universities of Ireland.
The IURU also organises Student representative fixtures against other representative sides inside and outside Ireland. In the past, the Combined Universities have played against full International touring sides, including the famous victory over the Springboks at Thomond Park in 1965. In recent years, the Irish Universities have organised fixtures against other European Student representative sides.
2016 saw the revival of the third level international representative team in the guise of the Ireland Students. Ireland’s long and proud history of 3rd level representative rugby has been hindered in recent years due to the pressures of the professional era and the 2016 fixture, organised by the IURU, was designed as a launch-pad for the reintroduction of regular international matches for Irish student teams. In that revival year, Ireland Students lost a hard-fought contest to the English Students at College Park, Trinity on a score line of 57-30.
In 2017, the Irish Students travelled to England and played out a thrilling 36 all draw in beautiful conditions at Illfey Road, Oxford, demonstrating progress and evolution of the squad.
In 2018, Peffermill Playing Fields, Edinburgh was the venue for the Ireland Students first victory since the revival, beating the Scottish Students on by 33-17 in a very competitive match.
On Sunday 10 February 2019, the Ireland Students will welcome the Scottish Students to Queens University in Belfast as part of the celebration of the QUB RFC 150-year anniversary season, continuing the annual Student International fixture.