IRFU outlines details of Autumn club rugby return

The IRFU has confirmed that competitive club rugby will resume this September.

An expanded 10-team Energia Women’s All-Ireland League starts the weekend of September 25th, with no promotion or relegation for the next two seasons.

The following week, all five Men’s AIL divisions will also return, with 18-game regular seasons and promotion and relegation reinstated.

Nenagh Ormond, Cashel and Clonmel will return to action in their respective divisions, after being involved in the Men’s Community Series last year which offered regional games during the pandemic.

Six Irish players have been named in the British and Irish Lions team to face Japan on Saturday at Murrayfield.

Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw form the centre partnership, with Conor Murray to start at scrum half.

Iain Henderson starts in the second row, with Tadhg Beirne and Jack Conan in the back row. Tadhg Furlong is among the replacements.

Saturday’s encounter serves as preparation for the eight-game tour in South Africa, which gets underway on Saturday week.

Meanwhile, Connacht Rugby has announced the retirement of flanker Seán O’Brien.

The 26-year-old Galway man is a graduate of Cistercian College, Roscrea, and has been advised to retire on medical grounds following a concussion injury.