Source: Paul Terry/JMP

England to play in inaugural 6 Nations Summer Series

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England will take part in the first Six Nations Women’s Summer Series, which will debut this July, in Parma, Italy.

The tournament, where U20 Women’s head coach LJ Lewis will lead the England side, will feature all Six Nations teams and include three competitive match days designed to offer a new opportunity for international rugby experience.

The format of the Women’s Summer Series will see three match days, on the 4th, 9th and 14th July, with teams made up of predominately U20 players, but with each union able to select up to three U23 players per match day squad.

Lewis’ team will face Ireland (4 July, 17:30 BST kick-off), Wales (9 July, 20:00 BST kick-off) and France (14 July, 20:00 BST kick-off) in the inaugural outing of the tournament at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

The Women’s Summer Series is intended to offer players a vital new opportunity to graduate through the rugby development pathway, from the U18 level. For those players who may have missed the U18 entry point onto the rugby pathway, the Women’s Summer Series opens up another route to international rugby.

As well as players, coaches and match officials from each respective union’s nation will be involved in similar fashion to the Six Nations Under-18 Festivals in order to maximise the opportunity to gain vital experience and develop alongside each other.

The Six Nations Women’s Summer Series will be available to fans all over the world, via exclusive coverage on the Six Nations Rugby YouTube channels, with supporting coverage across dedicated Under-20 Six Nations social media channels.

England can also confirm that they will face Ireland in an opposed training session held at Bisham Abbey on the 11th June in preparation for this year’s competition.

England U20 Women’s head coach, LJ Lewis, said: “Our spring fixtures gave us plenty of lessons to take into July. We’ve integrated many new players and put our plans into action – it’s been a rewarding process for myself, Sarah and our staff.

“The Women’s Pathway deserves a tournament like this to bridge the development gap between the age-grade and senior levels. Our girls are determined to make the most of this new opportunity for them.

“The Red Roses have served as a massive source of inspiration for us in recent months – now, it’s time for us to make our imprint on the tournament.”

Commenting on the introduction of the new Six Nations Women’s Summer Series, Julie Paterson, Chief of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said: “The development pathway is an essential part of the strategy and commitment of Six Nations Rugby, and the six unions and federations, to proactively support the creation and growth of opportunities in the women’s game.

“The ability for the players, coaches and match officials to gain rugby experience and exposure to a structured international pathway are vitals elements of the mission to motivate the long term, sustainable development of the women’s game. Introducing the Women’s Summer Series delivers on this mission and commitment.

“Over the last three years, the Women’s Under-18s Festivals have provided a competitive and successful development platform. We are now able to offer the next phase for players, coaches and match officials to graduate to, and continue to gain experience.

“Performances from England and France in the senior Women’s Six Nations have highlighted the benefit a successful development infrastructure, and thriving domestic club game, can accelerate the develop of players. The combination of the Under-18 Festivals and now the Women’s Summer Series, provides an opportunity for rugby experience to be gained for the benefit of all six unions and federations. With energy and enthusiasm, coupled with patience and support, the pathway will feed through to the elite women’s game.

“Thanks needs to be given to the Italian Federation, who previously hosted a Men’s Summer Series, and will once again put on an incredible experience for everyone involved in the Women’s event this July. Credit needs to be shared across all six unions and federations for the continued collaboration to bring to life a new and ambitious development platform for the sport.”

England’s Six Nations Women’s Summer Series fixtures

4 July 2024 – England vs. Ireland – 17:30 BST kick-off

9 July 2024 – Wales vs. England – 20:00 BST kick-off

14 July 2024 – England vs. France – 20:00 BST kick-off

With thanks to the RFU

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