Japan will announce the 12th and final squad for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 on Sunday. With the tournament almost upon us, we check out the latest WRWC news from Ireland and across the globe in our #BringIt Bulletin.
IRELAND STARS HIT THE BEACH FOR LUCOZADE SPORT’S ‘MADE TO MOVE’: Irish fitness expert, author and entrepreneur Pat Divilly hosted an exclusive training session alongside Ireland Women’s rugby stars Nora Stapleton, Niamh Briggs and Sophie Spence at Sandymount Strand in Dublin on Wednesday.
Attending the lunchtime training session was a group of over 40 lucky rugby fans who were put through their paces, gaining valuable insights to help improve their overall agility, endurance and strength. The session was a rare opportunity for people to train alongside the girls in green, who are only days away from a training camp in Fota Island as their preparations continue for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017.
Philip Keenan, Lucozade Marketing Manager, said: “We are delighted to announce that Lucozade Sport Low Cal is an official supplier to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Having Nora, Niamh and Sophie join our ‘Made to Move’ session was a fantastic opportunity for them to share their expert advice and knowledge in a fun outdoor environment, which is what Lucozade Sport is all about.”
Pat led the group through the hour-long session, sharing his rugby-inspired exercises and top nutritional tips. Niamh, who will captain Ireland at the tournament from August 9 to 26, commented: “It’s fantastic to be able to get out and support Lucozade Sport’s ‘Made to Move’ sessions. I’m a passionate believer in the importance of leading an active, healthy lifestyle and understanding the benefits of physical activity. The session was also an great way to kick-start the partnership between Lucozade Sport Low Cal and the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup.”
To find out how you can take part in future ‘Made to Move’ sessions, visit the Lucozade Sport Ireland Facebook page or head over to Instagram @lucozadesportie. #MadetoMove #WRWC2017 – Photos by Marc O’Sullivan
CANADA WOMEN ENJOY TERRIFIC TORONTO SEND-OFF: A rousing rendition of ‘O Canada’ capped off a special 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup send-off reception for the Canada Women’s squad and management team in Toronto earlier this week.
The Globe and Mail Centre hosted more than 400 people at the ‘Canadian Women: Tackling the World’ event, presented by Goldcorp and Aon. It was hosted by TSN personality Kate Beirness and featured a star-studded female panel in Canada Women’s rugby legends Karen Paquin and Kelly Russell, as well as Natalie Spooner and Rosie Cossar, as they discussed women in sport.
Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen and Canada Women’s head coach Francois Ratier addressed partners Goldcorp, Aon, the Globe & Mail, Tourism Ireland, Ungava Gin, Canada’s Dairy Farmers – Fuelling Women Champions, Gilbert Rugby and Quails’ Gate Winery in an intimate environment before the night’s formalities officially kicked off.
After opening remarks from Beirness, Vansen and Globe and Mail CEO Phillip Crawley addressed the crowd before Canada’s Women’s Rugby World Cup players were introduced. A number of prominent Canadian figures wished Canada good luck in August, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (featured below).
Tourism Ireland was one of the official promotional partners at the event and they ran a competition to highlight the Women’s Rugby World Cup, with the chance to win a trip for two to Ireland, including tickets to one of the World Cup matches.
Vansen commented: “Rugby Canada is very thankful to Tourism Ireland for its support of our official send-off event for our Women’s team as they begin their journey to the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland.
“The excitement of all our fantastic supporters and fans at the send-off event was bolstered by the amazing opportunity to win a trip for two to Ireland to watch the semi-finals, graciously provided by Tourism Ireland.
“Rugby Canada enjoys a fantastic long-standing relationship with the Irish Rugby Football Union and our Women’s team are incredibly excited to challenge for the pinnacle trophy in the Women’s game in front of many Canadian fans who will be traveling to Ireland to take in the tournament.”
Irish dancers also performed on the night before four items were sold during a live auction, including signed Connor McDavid and Wayne Gretzky jerseys, raising more than $19,000. Ratier’s side kick off their World Cup campaign against Hong Kong at Billings Park in UCD on Wednesday, August 9 (kick-off 5.15pm).
FEURY AND GRASSINEAU CALLED UP FOR WRWC DUTY: As expected, there have been some squad changes ahead of the start of the Women’s Rugby World Cup. Both the USA and France have announced replacements in their 28-strong panels.
The 21-year-old Tess Feury from Pennsylvania State University has been called into the US Eagles’ backs division, replacing fellow youngster Annakaren Pedraza, a scrum half. Feury plays most of her rugby at full-back but is a versatile option for head coach Pete Steinberg, having played scrum half in the World Sevens Series in Clermont last month and as an outside back for the 15s Eagles.
A Division 1 Elite National Championship winner this year, she made her international debut off the bench during the USA’s 39-13 Super Series defeat to England in Salt Lake City last July. She won her next two caps on the right wing against France last November and appeared as a replacement against Canada in April.
Meanwhile, with Jessy Trémoulière unable to recover in time from injury, the French management have drafted in fellow back-three specialist Camille Grassineau. The pair both started for les Bleus in February’s 13-10 loss to Ireland at Donnybrook.
Grassineau (26), who herself has been battling injury, was a surprise omission from France’s World Cup selection. The scorer of the first ever Olympic try in Sevens, she is one of the French stars of the World Sevens circuit, a slick finisher and a tigerish tackler who will be doubly determined to make France’s right wing berth her own.
LIMERICK GIVES BRIGGS AND WRWC TROPHY A WARM WELCOME: The Women’s Rugby World Cup Trophy Tour continues apace, with Niamh Briggs bringing the precious silverware down south to a very familiar beat for the Limerick-based Garda.
Briggs, who will captain Ireland at next month’s World Cup, had a super hero-esque entrance to today’s event at Arthur’s Quay Park in Limerick city as she arrived by boat courtesy of Limerick Marine Search and Rescue and the Nevsail kayakers. She was greeted off the River Shannon by the Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Stephen Keary (pictured below).
A crowd of excited young rugby fans were on hand to meet her with waving flags, along with Limerick native and Ireland Women’s head coach Tom Tierney, Grand Slam-winning captain and WRWC 2017 Ambassador Fiona Coghlan and WRWC 2017 squad member Nicole Cronin.
“It’s great to be here and see all the young kids out, the support we’ve been getting from the public is brilliant,” said Briggs. “We’ve taken huge positives from the fact that the pool games have sold out early and the Trophy Tour is a huge pick-me-up, especially when the days are hard and the training is long and tough.
“You’re not just doing it for yourself and for the girls, it affects a lot of other people as well. So we’re delighted to be here in Limerick today and really appreciate those who came out to say hello.”
Tierney, who brought along his two young daughters (pictured above with Niamh), added: “Being a Limerick man born and bred, it’s very special to see the crowds come out today and the Trophy Tour stopping off in the home of Irish Rugby.”
Mayor Keary commented: “Niamh is a fantastic ambassador for the game and you only need to look at the faces of the many young girls here today who really look up to her and find her achievements truly inspirational.” – Photos by Alan Place
For more information on the WRWC 2017 Trophy Tour, click here. Tickets for the World Cup pool stages are now completely sold out, but you can still buy tickets for the latter stages of the tournament in Belfast on www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wrwc2017 and www.ticketmaster.ie/wrwc2017.
ONE TO WATCH – AROA GONZALEZ (SPAIN): The heartbeat of the Spanish team, hooker Aroa Gonzalez is preparing for her fourth Women’s Rugby World Cup after she was inspired to come out of retirement and lead ‘las Leonas’ to qualification.
Gonzalez’s infectious work ethic and drive to continually improve make her the ideal captain for this ambitious Spanish side, while her own enduring qualities in the scrum and lineout will certainly cause problems for their Pool B opponents, England, Italy and the USA.
The INEF Barcelona stalwart (38), who first played the game aged 14, has lined out a record 68 times for her country. Head coach Jose Antonio Barrio says Gonzalez can motivate her team-mates with just her presence alone – and she certainly knows how to fire up the Lionesses judging by the below speech before they clinched WRWC qualification against Scotland last November.
Speaking in the dressing room in Madrid, she said: “I don’t know what to tell you to motivate you. For me, just being here, in this kit, motivates me. Because I am a lioness. Because I am hungry.
“There’s nothing more to say, but there is a lot to do. I don’t want negativity on the pitch. I want positivity, because that’s how we are. We’re a team, a family. We have quarrels, but it doesn’t matter because we stand up for our family when we have to. No matter what. No matter what.
“Are you hungry lionesses? Yes! Let’s hunt. 3, 2, 1, Lionesses!”
PRE-TOURNAMENT BUZZ: SARA BARRATIN (ITALY) – “I started playing rugby late, when I was 17-years-old. I was interested in it all through high school, I remember when my boyfriend got his driver’s licence, he would drive me to the Ghirada sports centre to watch him play for Benetton.
“That was when I first saw the game and set my heart on playing. I had to wait three or four years before starting. After that, I never stopped.
“For me and many of my team-mates this will be our first World Cup, so we are all emotional but really happy to be going to Ireland. The WRWC is important to me because we face squads from a high level. We have quite a tough group with the USA, England and Spain.
“We play England every year and being the reigning champions, they will do their best to win again. We have been waiting for this World Cup for 15 years and we can’t wait to play. We are working very hard.”
AMY WILSON-HARDY (ENGLAND) – “When you have such a large group of players with the same focus, it’s easy, there’s a really good feeling with everybody. Players who have won a World Cup know how much it takes and what it means to get there.
“We deal with pressure on a daily basis, we are well prepared, but equally, everyone is going to play as hard as they can. We’re going to look to improve game after game and see what happens. We know we’re good enough to win if we go out and play the best we can.”
GARRETT TUBRIDY (TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR) – “At the UCD Bowl, we have the main stand and we’re putting in additional seating on the grass bank and additional terracing to deal with the capacity – there’s been a huge demand for tickets.
“It will probably be about 3,500 at the Bowl and just over 2,000 at Billings Park, so it’s around 5,500 spectators each day. The facilities here at UCD are fantastic, each member of the team will have an individual room, which is en-suite, a private room. They will be in apartments with their team-mates – apartments of six where they have their own common room as well.
“We have a ‘fan zone’ right between the two pitches. We’ll have games, a food concession, a bar, there will be a hospitality suite for invited guests, and a big screen.”
WRWC SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENTS SO FAR: 11
Two New Caps Included In Australia’s WRWC 2017 Squad
France Confirm Squad For WRWC 2017
Defending Champions England Announce WRWC 2017 Squad
New Zealand Squad Revealed For WRWC 2017 Campaign
Canada Select Experienced Squad For WRWC 2017
For more on the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, visit the tournament website – www.rwcwomens.com. Buy your match tickets for #WRWC2017 now on www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wrwc2017 and www.ticketmaster.ie/wrwc2017.