Munster reigned supreme with a bonus point victory over Connacht as Ireland’s Women’s Interprovincial Championships came to a thrilling end on Saturday.
The battle heated up in the Allianz Premier 15s as Gloucester-Hartpury and Exeter Chiefs both secured wins.
Elsewhere, Valsugana extended their lead at the top of the Eccellenza Femminile whilst French internationals shone in the Elite 1 Feminine.
Munster take the title in Connacht
Newly crowned 2023 Interpros champions Munster clinched a 50-24 bonus point win over Connacht to claim back-to-back titles in Galway.
Munster were in control from the start, overturning the ball from a territorial Connacht and crossing the whitewash three times to set the standard.
📺 Highlights, Gallery & Reaction | Relive a memorable Saturday as Munster secured back-to-back @VodafoneIreland Women’s Interprovincial Championship titles 🏆
Check out match highlights, the best pics and a post-match interview with Kate Flannery ⤵️#SUAF 🔴
— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) January 23, 2023
Irish international Dorothy Wall was pivotal as flanker, linking up nicely with Aoife Doyle to set up a storming try by Deirbhile Nic a Bháird who crossed from 50m out.
Seven players dotted down for the victory as Munster retained their Interpros title for another year.
Leinster also finished their Interpros on a high with an emphatic 43-0 victory over Ulster.
Young Ireland star Dannah O’Brien was on hand as flyhalf, making four of her conversions and making an impact in general play.
The 20-year-old nicely set up co-captain Hannah O’Connor for her first from a hat-trick of tries on 17 minutes.
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Chiefs close the gap on Gloucester-Hartpury
Exeter Chiefs charged to a stunning 41-0 display over Bristol Bears at Sandy Park and now lie within nine points of Gloucester-Hartpury in the Premier 15s.
Italy’s Silvia Turani and England’s Claudia MacDonald both crossed in an action-packed second half of rugby to claim their seventh bonus points win in a row.
MacDonald’s solo effort was worthy of her world class status as the Red Roses star gathered the ball in her own half and powered forward, easily evading Bristol full-back Courtney Keight and dotting down beneath the sticks.
Gloucester-Hartpury kept their unbeaten run going with a 33-22 victory over Harlequins at The Stoop.
— Allianz Premier 15s (@Premier15s) January 22, 2023
Welsh international Lleucu George took the Player of the Match award in an exciting battle between the two sides, the flyhalf starting strong with a line break to set up winger Rachel Lund.
Ellie Kildunne closed the gap to 10 points with just three minutes to go, darting through to cross in the corner but there was ultimately too much to do for the London side.
Feleu shines for Grenoble Amazones
French international Manae Feleu leapt out of the box in the Elite 1 Feminine as Grenoble Amazones notched a 20-0 win over Lyon.
Feleu led the way in just the fourth minute to put her team ahead and open the scoring doors.
Amazones now sit just two points behind Pool B leaders Blagnac after five games.
Bordeaux hold onto the lead at the top of Pool A following a 29-13 victory over Toulouse at home.
Assia Khalfaoui notched an 80 minute try to seal the deal, with Morgane Bourgeois also getting on the scoreboard for the winners.
Valsugana extend comfortable lead
Valsugana cruised to a 59-0 victory over Cus Milano in the Eccellenza Femminile, a somewhat easier outing than their previous match against Villorba.
The Italian team boasts players such as Beatrice Rigoni, Michela Sillari and Sofia Stefan and now sits a comfortable seven points ahead of second placed Colorno.
Colorno also eased to victory with a 56-7 over Unione Rugby Capitolina and now sit on 26 points, just two points ahead of Villorba in third.
With seven out of 14 games in the league complete, there’s still time for Valsugana’s opponents to stake a claim on the title.
Celtic Challenge begins
In international action, the inaugural Celtic Challenge got underway with Wales Development XV claiming a narrow 29-27 victory over the Scottish Thistles.
The first of a series of fixtures between Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the challenge aims to expose youngsters to more international rugby.
WRU Development XV dig deep to claim Round 1 win at Scotstoun
— Welsh Rugby Union 🏴 (@WelshRugbyUnion) January 22, 2023
Wales’ Abbie Fleming captained her team to victory at Scotstoun Stadium, bustling over the line from the base of the ruck to add her own score after the break.
Following a period of back and forth play that saw the Thistles pull ahead, Wales fought back as Saracens’ Kat Evans crossed the whitewash before Ffion Owens secured the win.