The IRFU has this evening announced a partnership with incoming US Major League Rugby franchise the New England Free Jacks to create a series of development fixtures which will see the Leinster ‘A’ team and the other three provincial A teams travel to Boston in March and April next year.

The New England Free Jacks are set to join US Major League Rugby from 2020 and will host development sides from Leinster, Connacht, Munster and Ulster in Boston next spring.

Each provincial squad will play two games in Boston – one against the hosts the New England Free Jacks and another against a fellow provincial side.

Leinster won’t be in action until April with Connacht the first team to take on the Free Jacks on 16th March and then playing Ulster a few days on the 20th March. Ulster will then play the Free Jacks on 24th March.

Munster will play the Free Jacks on the 6th April and then play Leinster on the 10th April in Boston. Leinster will then play the last fixture of the mini-series against the New Jacks on the 14th April before returning to Dublin.

Celtic Cup

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented, “We are delighted to be partnering with the New England Free Jacks for this development opportunity which follows on from the success of the Celtic Cup earlier in the season.

“Our provincial development sides will face the challenge of preparing for two competitive fixtures within an eight day window while also having to manage recovery and operating in a new environment. The combination of these elements will further accelerate their progress as developing professionals.

“The New England Free Jacks are in an exciting phase of their development as they continue to build towards competing in Major League Rugby in 2020. This series of games provides valuable exposure for our emerging talent and one which we believe will be mutually beneficial to both Irish and US rugby.”

Having come through their pool unbeaten, Leinster ‘A’ captained by Jack Kelly won the inaugural Celtic Cup competition last month against Scarlets 8-15 in the Final played in Parc y Scarlets.

Fixtures:

Saturday 16th March 2019
New England Free Jacks v Connacht

Wednesday 20th March 2019
Connacht v Ulster

Sunday 24th March 2019
New England Free Jacks v Ulster

Saturday 6 April 2019
New England Free Jacks v Munster

Wednesday 10th April 2019
Munster v Leinster

Sunday 14th April 2019
Leinster v New England Free Jacks