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Kingspan set to end five-year wait for women’s international rugby

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Home soil: Kathryn Dane could sport Ireland colours in Belfast. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Home soil: Kathryn Dane could sport Ireland colours in Belfast. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Home soil: Kathryn Dane could sport Ireland colours in Belfast. Credit: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Women’s rugby will return to Kingspan Stadium for the first time in five years when Ireland play their final 2022 Six Nations game against Scotland at the venue on April 30.

There hasn’t been a senior women’s game in Belfast since the 2017 World Cup final between New Zealand and England, but that will change when the Ireland team conclude a country-wide tour in the city.

The last time Ireland played at Kingspan Stadium was also in that tournament but, since then, they have played the majority of their games at either Energia Park or the RDS Arena in Dublin.

But with the women’s game on the rise — as evidenced by sizeable crowds watching their friendlies against Japan and the USA at the RDS last month — the IRFU have taken the decision to move the games around the four provinces.

That means Ulster fans will be able to watch the likes of local heroes Kathryn Dane, Brittany Hogan and Neve Jones in action as Ireland aim to lift the Six Nations trophy on home soil.

After opening their campaign at home to Wales at the RDS on March 26, Greg McWilliams’ girls face Italy at Musgrave Park in Cork on April 10 before finishing their campaign at Kingspan Stadium on April 30.

Between that, Ireland play their biggest games away from home, travelling to France on April 2 and England on April 24.

Meanwhile, Clermont lock Tomás Lavanini will miss their Heineken Champions Cup opener against Ulster next weekend after he received a five-week ban for his sending off playing for Argentina against Ireland in the Autumn Internationals.

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