London Irish to launch elite women’s team

London Irish have announced plans to launch an elite women’s team that will compete in the domestic Allianz Premier 15’s competition from 2023.

Irish, who made the move back to the capital this season, ending a 20-year stay in Reading, hope adding a women’s team in the top-flight will help the club build on its following around the London area.

“This is a welcome development for London Irish Rugby Club,” said chief executive Mark Bensted.

“It is a logical next step for us and we are excited about getting all the building blocks in place in support of our
application to join the Premier 15’s in 2023.

“There is a lot of hard work ahead, but we are committed to this project as the club continues to grow following its move back to London.’’

Irish have recruited former England Roses World Cup-winning assistant coach Graham Smith to lead the development of on-field performance and will form a partnership with St Mary’s University in Twickenham.

“We are incredibly excited about what the future holds for women’s rugby at London Irish as we prepare to write a new chapter in our history,” said Irish director of women’s rugby, Mary Fyfe.

“The desire and commitment to establish an elite women’s team builds on the growth of the women’s set-up over recent years and is very much a natural progression for the club.”