We caught up with the new initiative in the U18’s girls program where clubs have been amalgamated into regional Barbarian sides in order to get more 15 a side rugby under their belts.
I believe there will be four Barbarian sides North East, North West, East and South together with, the two stalwarts of the girls U18 programme, Virginia and Enniskillen who will field their club sides.
It’s something we’ve been advocating for a few seasons now and while there is still a long way to go it’s a promising start.
In Sunday’s game at Randalstown RFC the East side (Cooke, Malone and Larne I believe) came out on top against the North East representatives (Ballyclare, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Randalstown) by 5 tries to 3 in an entertaining enough game.
Understandably, as the first hit out for both teams, it was a bit rough round the edges, and it does need to develop proper scrums and line outs, but it was a decent enough start. There was a good selection of talent on view on both sides and the expectations of what these players can deliver needs to rise. They are more than capable.
It’s an opportunity for Ulster Rugby to start the long journey of bringing their women’s programme in line with the work being done at rest of the provinces. This is something that should eventually be overseen by the Women’s Senior Coaching team as part of a season long player development pathway to representative, and ultimately senior, rugby.