The sun shone on Carton House on Sunday as 12 teams from all four provinces played out a mini Women’s Rugby World Cup as excitement builds ahead of the showpiece tournament in Ireland from 9-26 August. 

Watched by Ireland captain Niamh Briggs and with the Women’s Rugby World Cup trophy on display it was a wonderful day of rugby and fun.

The Ireland full-back, who is recovering well from the injury that ruled her out of the recent Women’s Six Nations, was on hand to meet the teams and offer advice on skills.

“It’s just fantastic to see so many young girls enjoying the game and to have their parents and coaches involved is great too,” said Briggs.

“There were some great skills on display here which is brilliant but most important of all was the fun everyone had, both here and on the bus – that’s all part of developing their love of the game.”

Carton House provided a picturesque backdrop as the young teams got a chance to play their matches on pitches that had been graced during the Six Nations by Ireland captain Rory Best and the rest of the squad.

Each team represented one of the countries that have qualified for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 and played several matches on the day, although with an emphasis on having fun and taking part there was no World Cup winner crowned, unlike there will be in Belfast on 26 August.

The festival was one of a series of events that mark the build up to what promises to be the most exciting Women’s Rugby World Cup to date and formed part of the trophy tour which will visit clubs and schools in every county in Ireland.

The trophy tour moves on to Connacht this week and for more details of events and the dedicated social hub, visit www.rwcwomens.com/trophy-tour

Women’s Rugby World Cup mini tournament teams

Connacht
Gort Portumna – Canada
Claremorris – Wales
Ballina – Japan

Ulster
Virginia – Ireland
Donaghadee – New Zealand
Armagh/Malone – England

Munster
Bruff – Australia
Abbeyfeale – Spain
Fethard – Italy

Leinster
Metro Barbarians – Hong Kong
Navan – France
Portarlington - USA