Ireland have been drawn in Pool B alongside reigning champions New Zealand for the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.
The draw, which was streamed live on the Women’s Rugby World Cup website today, sees Ireland in Pool B alongside 2010 winners New Zealand as well as Kazakhstan and USA.
Interestingly Ireland beat both USA and Kazakhstan in the pool stages of the last Rugby World Cup four years ago in England.
The girls in green beat a much-fancied USA team 22-12 in their first game and went on to beat Kazakhstan 37-3.
They then lost to the USA in the fifth-eighth place play-offs before winning the seventh-eighth place play-off clash where they beat Scotland.
The pinnacle of the Women’s fifteens game will kick off in Marcoussis on Friday, August 1 next year, with the final to be played at the Stade Jean Bouin on Sunday, August 17 in the French capital.
Speaking about the draw, Ireland Women’s head coach Philip Doyle said: “We are familiar with Kazakhstan and the USA from the last time and both teams present a really physical challenge.
“We beat USA in the pool stages but they came back hard at us in the play-offs and I expect nothing less this time around.
“In terms of New Zealand, we are delighted to have drawn them as we have not faced them before and we will relish the chance to play them.”
Ireland Women’s captain Fiona Coghlan commented: “The Black Ferns are the only team ranked above us in the world that we haven’t played, so it’s a very exciting prospect to test ourselves against the World champions.
“With just the top 12 teams in the world qualifying for the World Cup the draw was always going to be tough no matter what pool you end up in.”
Ireland begin their defence of the Women’s RBS 6 Nations title against Scotland on Saturday, February 1 at Ashbourne RFC.
2014 WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP POOLS:
Pool A – England, Canada, Spain, Samoa
Pool B – New Zealand, USA, Ireland, Kazakhastan
Pool C – Australia, France, Wales, South Africa
All the information on the draw and the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup can be found on the tournament website, along with ticket and travel information as it becomes available.
The fixtures and kick-off times for #WRWC2014 will be announced at a later date.
POOL B IN FOCUS –
* New Zealand and the USA last met on the Women’s Rugby World Cup stage back in the 1998 final when the Black Ferns won 44-12 to be crowned champions for the first time
* The last team to beat New Zealand in a Women’s Rugby World Cup match were the USA, 7-0 in the semi-finals of the inaugural tournament in 1991
* Pool B features two of the three nations to have lifted the trophy in inaugural champions USA and four-time winners New Zealand
* For the second tournament in a row the USA, Ireland and Kazakhstan have been drawn in the same pool
* USA and Ireland actually met twice at the 2010 competition, the girls in green winning the pool encounter 22-12 but then losing the fifth-eight place play-off to the Women’s Eagles 40-3. They have met four times on the Women’s World Cup stage in total, the Americans winning three of the four but the margins having reduced significantly since they won 76-0 in the 1994 quarter-finals!
* Kazakhstan can boast a won two, lost one record against Ireland at a Women’s Rugby World Cup. Kazakhstan won both meetings in the 1998 tournament, but lost 37-3 in 2010
* New Zealand have never played Ireland or Kazakhstan before