4 Dec, 10:19
Grand Slam winners Fiona Coghlan and Nora Stapelton have returned the Women's RBS 6 Nations trophy to Chief Executive John Feehan at the Six Nations offices in Dublin.
This leafy corner of Guildford suddenly finds itself the epicentre of women's rugby, as 12 countries from around the world on Friday will begin battling it out for the right to hold aloft the World Cup trophy at the Twickenham Stoop on September 5.
All of the teams are now in situ at the Surrey Sports Park and they have been eagerly acquainting themselves with the superb facilities on offer at the multi-million pound complex, before the tournament kicks off on Friday with Canada v Scotland at 12pm.
Ireland begin their Pool B campaign some hours later, with hosts England providing the opposition at 6.30pm. The game will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 2, and there will be live streaming on the tournament website.
Eighth at the last World Cup in Edmonton four years ago, the Irish girls are eager to improve their ranking and head coach Philip Doyle says they are doing everything possible to achieve that.
"The Irish squad, how it has come on in the last four years has been impressive and we are undoubtedly a better side physically and mentally," he said.
"I hate setting goals, and yes we would love to win the World Cup, but at the same time we must be realistic.
"We finished eighth last time, standing here now if we get better than eighth I will be a very happy man, it is all about pushing up that ladder and getting closer and closer.
"We are a lot faster than people think, some people describe us as we have a good set piece and that's about it, but we have a lot more than that to give in this World Cup.
"We have a good platform, good forwards these days, yes we do have a decent unit base but you have to have that to play rugby, it is only a starting point.
"We have a lot better footballing rugby players now, a lot more intelligence about game awareness and spacial awareness.
"We are going to come and play our brand, we are going to play the Irish brand of women's rugby and if that is good enough, then that is good enough for me. We have got a lot to offer this time around.
Doyle added: "I do think we are good enough to get to the finals, time will tell.
"I keep saying that but time will tell. We are good enough to get to the finals, after that let's just see how it goes. We need to improve, just keep pushing the bar up."
Commenting on behalf of the tournament organisers, IRB Tournament Director Philippe Bourdarias said: "The IRB has been working towards this tournament for the past two years and we are delighted that it has now finally arrived.
"We are now looking forward to Friday and the beginning of what promises to be a hugely exciting and entertaining Women's Rugby World Cup."
Ireland Women's Rugby World Cup Fixtures:
England v Ireland, Surrey, Friday, August 20, 6.30pm
USA v Ireland, Surrey, Tuesday, August 24, 4.30pm
Ireland v Kazakhstan, Surrey, Saturday, August 28, 4.30pm
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