Edinburgh Rugby to compete in expanded Celtic Challenge

Edinburgh Rugby to compete in expanded Celtic Challenge

Edinburgh Rugby’s women’s side will return to the Celtic Challenge for the 24/25 season, with an expanded championship announced and set to start in December.

After a successful inaugural season, Edinburgh Rugby is delighted to confirm its involvement in the ten-round tournament, which will enable more game time and development opportunities for the six competing teams on the pathway to the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025.

The capital city ‘History-Makers’ enjoyed an impressive first campaign in the tournament, finishing second and losing only one match.  The side played with style and scored eye-catching tries, drawing average crowds of around 1,200 in their first-ever season.

The developmental credentials of the team were evidenced in the recent Guinness Six Nations, with core squad members Emma Orr, Cieron Bell, Nicole Flynn, Merryn Gunderson and vice-captain Alex Stewart all being called into the Scotland squad.

Corstorphine Cougars’ Stewart showed her potential in the Six Nations, earning her first cap before going on to start every match for her country and topping the tournament tackle charts – the 19-year-old flanker proving her readiness for the Test match arena.

Edinburgh’s Alex Stewart celebrates at full time during a Celtic Challenge match Edinburgh Rugby Women and Clovers at Hive Stadium

Edinburgh skipper Sarah Denholm was also invited to train alongside the Scotland squad in a developmental capacity, alongside Freya Walker, Molly Poolman, and Natasha Logan.

The transitional pathway players that donned the castle also gained international honours, with Leia Brebner-Holden earning her first call-up to the senior side, while Fiona McIntosh won her first cap starting against England at a sold-out Hive Stadium.

The competition also saw growth off the pitch with increased attendances recorded and broadcast partnerships cemented with BBC Scotland, BBC Wales, and Rugby Pass TV, with all matches streamed live, driving visibility around the world and bringing new fans to the game.

Edinburgh Rugby Managing Director, Douglas Struth, said: “I’m excited we can announce the second season of our women’s side. The team’s first season was a huge step forward for the club, and I can’t wait to see how they can develop in the expanded competition.

“It’s an extremely exciting time in women’s rugby – with Scotland getting a sell-out crowd at Hive Stadium, and the viewing figures of the Guinness Women’s Six Nations reaching outstanding new heights.

“It’s brilliant to be involved, and I can’t wait to see the Edinburgh fans get behind the team this season.”

The Celtic Challenge is the first women’s cross-border Club competition, organised by the IRFU, Scottish Rugby, and WRU with support from World Rugby.

The tournament provides a high-performance platform for young female players and helps bridge the gap between the domestic and international women’s games in the three Celtic nations.

Ticket details for Edinburgh Rugby home matches will be communicated through the club’s official channels ahead of the new season.

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