New competition launched to propel women's game

captains wss launch
The city of Parma, fast becoming the heartbeat of women's rugby in Italy, saw the launch of the inaugural Women's Summer Series today.

The world-renowned opera house, Teatrio Regio di Parma, was the setting – with its Neoclassical architecture and Corinthian columns a pleasing contrast between the old and new. The first ever women’s U20s tournament of its kind, which runs from 4th-14th July, promises to bridge the gap for young players looking to make the step up to senior rugby.

Coaches and captains from each of the Six Nations gathered in the centre of the city to discuss the competition. "It's really exciting to play in the first Women's Summer Series," said France coach Caroline Suné. "It's a big step, and we've trained hard for this. It will be amazing for the girls and we'll all reap the rewards in the near future."

England captain Lilli Ives Campion said the importance of the first-ever Women’s Summer Series wasn’t lost on her and her teammates. “With this being a new competition, we want to get the best out of it and perform, but it’s also about growing the game,” said the second row. “This is such a good experience for everyone. There are two sides to it: the game side, but also the learning experience for the players.”

Joining an incredible summer of sport, the series stands to showcase the future stars of the international women’s game. Round one kicks off on Thursday 4th July, with France taking on Wales, before England face Ireland, and then Italy host Scotland in the late kick-off. The remaining matchdays will take place on the 9th and 14th of July.

To celebrate the debut of soon-to-be stars of the game, the Women’s Summer Series will recognise the best individual performer from each team with a new Most Valuable Player Award (MVP).

Fans all over the world will be able to follow all the action, via exclusive coverage on the Six Nations U20 YouTube channel, with commentary in English (and Italian for the matches featuring Italy). Supporting coverage will also be provided across the dedicated Six Nations U20 social media channels and the new Six Nations Rugby app.

Commenting on the Women’s Summer Series, Six Nations Chief of Rugby, Julie Paterson said: “This is a new and exciting development opportunity for young players, coaches, and officials to gain experience on the international stage. As a key strategic pillar of Six Nations Rugby, its unions and federations, the intention is to nurture the growth of the women’s game in a sustainable and engaging way for the players.

“The addition of the Women’s Summer Series, as a new step on the development pathway, is also part of the commitment to give these athletes a clear line of sight on when, where and how they can gain international experience and honours.”