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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Captains’ Call – Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

Captains’ Call – Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

As we edge towards the two-day countdown to the start of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017, the twelve captains spoke to the media today at UCD about their preparations for the tournament and their opening matches on Wednesday.

POOL A –

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NEW ZEALAND CAPTAIN FIAO’O FA’AMAUSILI: “We’re really excited. We’ve been here since Tuesday or Wednesday, so we’re just waiting to go out on the field. We’ve been training up to this day, so the energy levels are going to be up for Wednesday and we’re just gunning to go out there and play.

“Play every game like it’s your last – that’s what we took from the last World Cup because we took Ireland too lightly three years ago in France. So we’re going to make sure that all teams and all games that we do play, we’re going to play it like it’s our last and like a final.”

New Zealand – WRWC 2017 Squad

New Zealand – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

New Zealand v Wales, Billings Park, UCD, 2.45pm, Wednesday, August 9
New Zealand v Hong Kong, Billings Park, UCD, 12pm, Sunday, August 13
Canada v New Zealand, Billings Park, UCD, 12pm, Thursday, August 17

CANADA CAPTAIN KELLY RUSSELL: “We’re excited to play. We’ve had about a week here just outside of Dublin, so the team’s been training really well together and we’re happy to be at UCD now getting things started.

“Back home we’ve had a lot of sessions together, which was really nice because a lot of the girls kinda come together on the west coast and throughout the country they’re kinda grouping together which is awesome. But coming back together is easy, coming back to your ‘family’ is so easy.

“Everybody is really excited to get going, everybody is really focused and on the same mind-set. Being at UCD now brings that extra bit of energy when you’re a couple of days out from the game, so it’s going well.”

Canada – WRWC 2017 Squad

Canada – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

Canada v Hong Kong, Billings Park, UCD, 5.15pm, Wednesday, August 9
Canada v Wales, Billings Park, UCD, 5pm, Sunday, August 13
Canada v New Zealand, Billings Park, UCD, 12pm, Thursday, August 17

WALES CAPTAIN CARYS PHILLIPS: “I think with every game, we just have to prep well. Make sure we do all our video analysis well and train well when we get the chance to do it, because it’s only short periods of time that we get to do these things. There’s short turnarounds (in a World Cup) so it’s important that we get our prep nailed down.

“We were quite disappointed with some of our results and performances in the Six Nations, but I think we’ve grown from that. I think we kinda need to be at the bottom to get where we are now. We’ve definitely grown, training has gone really, really well, our warm-up games have gone really, really well.

“Obviously that’s in the past now, and we’ve just got to make sure we focus on what’s coming forward and obviously it’s New Zealand first up.”

Wales – WRWC 2017 Squad

Wales – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

New Zealand v Wales, Billings Park, UCD, 2.45pm, Wednesday, August 9
Canada v Wales, Billings Park, UCD, 5pm, Sunday, August 13
Wales v Hong Kong, UCD Bowl, 5.15pm, Thursday, August 17

HONG KONG CAPTAIN CHOW MEI-NAM: “We will see in the first game (against Canada) how tough we are. We can test where we are and challenge our opponents, and let them know that Hong Kong is coming. We know that we aren’t the best team at the World Cup, but we want to cause some surprises. We want to beat someone, at least one team.

“One of our advantages is that our opponents don’t know much about Hong Kong and they probably aren’t thinking about us very much. We have a ‘fast and furious’ style of play. We need to use our unique attributes well. If they are bigger, we need to be quicker and more nimble. We want to play quick ball and throw it around a bit.”

Hong Kong – WRWC 2017 Squad

Hong Kong – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

Canada v Hong Kong, Billings Park, UCD, 5.15pm, Wednesday, August 9
New Zealand v Hong Kong, Billings Park, UCD, 12pm, Sunday, August 13
Wales v Hong Kong, UCD Bowl, 5.15pm, Thursday, August 17

POOL B –

ENGLAND CAPTAIN SARAH HUNTER: “We got here yesterday. We’re really looking forward to getting the first game underway – it feels like we’ve done so much training over the last few weeks that we just want to get to play some rugby now. We’re very much looking forward to Spain on Wednesday.

“All those (successes like the Grand Slam and June’s International Series in New Zealand) have been part of our journey, stepping stones along the way to find out where we were and what we needed to do when we got to Ireland we could perform to the best of our ability.

“It’s been fantastic that we have won along the way – that builds confidence and that builds momentum – but we know that coming here the slate is wiped clean, and we’re actually one of 12 teams that will be wanting to put in fantastic performances, game after game, and our focus and mind-set hasn’t got further than Spain and our first game.”

England – WRWC 2017 Squad

England – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

England v Spain, UCD Bowl, 2pm, Wednesday, August 9
England v Italy, Billings Park, UCD, 2.30pm, Sunday, August 13
England v USA, Billings Park, UCD, 2.30pm, Thursday, August 17

USA CAPTAIN TIFFANY FAAEE: “We were one of the teams that went with (training) camps rather than playing more games, so we’ve been in San Diego for 30 days. The squad feels tight, we’re ready to go. I think we just want to get the first game (against Italy) out of the way, to be honest!

“With Italy, we really want to be physical with them. In the Six Nations we can see that they are a physical team and they have really strong forwards, so it’s just about us keeping our shape and making sure that we can counter and put the pressure on.”

USA – WRWC 2017 Squad

USA – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

USA v Italy, UCD Bowl, 4.30pm, Wednesday, August 9
USA v Spain, UCD Bowl, 2.45pm, Sunday, August 13
England v USA, Billings Park, UCD, 2.30pm, Thursday, August 17

ITALY CAPTAIN SARA BARATTIN: “We’ve prepared for this tournament with great care and attention. The World Cup is a tournament we’ve been pursuing for a long time – Italy haven’t played in one since 2002 – so we’re really looking forward to getting out on the pitch and playing.

“We start off against the USA in the opening round, they will be a tough team to deal with, primarily from a physical point of view. Our goals? We will definitely give it our best in each game and we’re hoping to place as high as possible in the play-offs.

“For me and many of my team-mates this is our first World Cup, so we are all emotional but really happy to be here in Ireland for the tournament. It’s quite a tough pool with England, the USA and Spain. We’ve been waiting for this for 15 years and we can’t wait to play!”

Italy – WRWC 2017 Squad

Italy – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

USA v Italy, UCD Bowl, 4.30pm, Wednesday, August 9
England v Italy, Billings Park, UCD, 2.30pm, Sunday, August 13
Italy v Spain, UCD Bowl, 2.45pm, Thursday, August 17

SPAIN CAPTAIN AROA GONZALEZ: “I wanted to help the younger players realise their dreams of competing at a World Cup, so when the coach rang me up to ask if I’d come back (out of retirement), I was happy to do so. Initially my goal was just to help the squad qualify but here I am at the dawn of a new tournament.

“Those girls give me the courage and the extra motivation to keep working hard and try and be better every day despite my age (38). My passion for rugby is still very strong, as it’s always been, and the excitement I still have for the game gives me the strength to carry on.

“We’ve three very strong teams in our pool. We are smaller in stature than most other players but our strength is that we play with great heart and passion and never give up and fight for every ball until the final whistle. Our goal is to finish as one of the top seven teams and hopefully qualify directly for the next World Cup.”

Spain – WRWC 2017 Squad

Spain – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

England v Spain, UCD Bowl, 2pm, Wednesday, August 9
USA v Spain, UCD Bowl, 2.45pm, Sunday, August 13
Italy v Spain, UCD Bowl, 2.45pm, Thursday, August 17

POOL C –

IRELAND CAPTAIN CLAIRE MOLLOY: “We want to put into practice what we’ve been doing, our systems, we want to get that first hit out of the way, the scrums, the lineouts. We want the contact and we just really want to have a big game against Australia and a big performance.

“I think Australia are going to bring physicality, they’re going to be aggressive. They’re going to be hungry for that ball, they’re going to have work-rate and energy. They’ve got a big pack, they’re going to try to dominate us there. They’ve got decent backs out there and they’ve got some Olympic medallists in their squad who are going to lead from the front and show their experience.

“It’s going to be a tough day out there. But we’ve got the team, we’ve got the 28 players who can go out there and get the result. We’ve just got to get things right on the day and be clinical.”

Ireland – WRWC 2017 Squad

Ireland – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

Ireland v Australia, UCD Bowl, 7pm, Wednesday, August 9
Ireland v Japan, UCD Bowl, 5.15pm, Sunday, August 13
Ireland v France, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm, Thursday, August 17

FRANCE CAPTAIN GAELLE MIGNOT: “We’ve work a lot on attitude, the state of mind, to show the opposition that we’re determined, that we’re hungry, that we are going to jump on all the balloons, that nothing is going release. We’re killers.

“When you step into the 22, you want to know that the opponents know that we’re going to come away with three, five, seven points. We will do everything to show our opponents that we want to be present in this tournament. This squad works extremely hard, we’re hugely determined.

“We hope that all the effort, the determination and the work that has been put in in recent months and in recent years, too – because preparation for a World Cup is not just done in a few months – will pay off. Since 2014, girls have really realised what we lacked physically. We’ve made progress on that and I hope that it will show from the start of the tournament because we know that we have a pool where there is very little room for error.”

France – WRWC 2017 Squad

France – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

France v Japan, Billings Park, UCD, 7.45pm, Wednesday, August 9
France v Australia, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm, Sunday, August 13
France v Ireland, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm, Thursday, August 17

AUSTRALIA CAPTAIN SHANNON PARRY: “I think it will be a huge game against Ireland. It’s obviously a sell-out and there will be a huge live-streaming audience – all our people back home will be able to watch it live on Fox Sports so that’s huge.

“It’s going to be a massive spectacle for Women’s rugby. All the pressure is on the Irish team, they’re expected to win, the host nation. For us, we’re just going to take the game as it comes and making sure our leaders lead the way when we need them to do their job.

“I think, for us, it’s about when those critical moments are in the game that we continue those critical moments. We don’t let them get away from ourselves, so to speak. Making the right decisions that will put the team in a better position going forward. But it’s going to be a huge, tough, physical game out there.

“The Irish have a big pack, they’re very clinical at set piece, they’ve got bustling centres. So we’ve got a lot to cover but we’re very well prepared for the challenge ahead.”

Australia – WRWC 2017 Squad

Australia – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

Ireland v Australia, UCD Bowl, 7pm, Wednesday, August 9
France v Australia, UCD Bowl, 7.45pm, Sunday, August 13
Australia v Japan, Billings Park, UCD, 5pm, Thursday, August 17

JAPAN CAPTAIN SEINA SAITO: “We’ve worked around the theme of making up for our difference in physiques compared to overseas players. My focus is on my physique and I have gained 10 kilograms. In terms of the forwards, against those players with twice our physical strength, we will not be able to get the ball if we cannot get the set piece right.

“It’s a very competitive pool (for the World Cup). The Irish team, being the home team, seems to be the strongest to me in this pool. It will be very tough but we would still like to win. I’m looking forward to it. Our team name is ‘Sakura 15’ – I would like the fans to shout ‘Sakura 15’!

“Our men’s national team moved us and gave us hope at the Rugby World Cup in 2015. We also want to make sure this tournament will be remembered by many people. For the sake of our predecessors who have led Women’s rugby this far and those who will take on future roles in Japanese Women’s rugby, we want to achieve our aim of reaching the top-eight in Ireland, and then hand it over to RWC 2019 in Japan.”

Japan – WRWC 2017 Squad

Japan – WRWC 2017 Team Profile

France v Japan, Billings Park, UCD, 7.45pm, Wednesday, August 9
Ireland v Japan, UCD Bowl, 5.15pm, Sunday, August 13
Australia v Japan, Billings Park, UCD, 5pm, Thursday, August 17