Ireland women have been drawn in Pool B of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 alongside Kazakhstan, USA and New Zealand.
The official draw took place at the Hotel de Ville in Paris this morning, handing Ireland a schedule that includes the early tournament favourites in New Zealand. The ‘Black Ferns’ are the current world title holders, having won the most recent tournament in England in 2010.
The competition takes place from August 1 to 17 next year, with the matches set to be played at the FFR Marcoussis facility, and the semi-finals and final to be played at Stade Jean Bouin in the French capital.
The girls in green will be eager to clash with the US, as it was the Americans who denied Ireland a chance to finish in fifth back in 2010 with a 40-3 hammering. Peter Steinberg’s squad has improved since then and they represent a great challenge to Ireland’s hopes of advancing.
Kazakhstan lost all three of their pool games in the last World Cup, scoring just three points in the process. While they have advanced since then, Fiona Coghlan and her teammates should be confident of recording a victory in that game. The biggest test of them all will be against the mighty Black Ferns.
All three of the other teams in Pool B will be nervous about facing Ireland, given that they are the current Grand Slam holders and play a complete style of rugby.
Irish captain Fiona Coughlan said:
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.”
Pool A is made up of England, Canada, Spain and Samoa. In Pool C, Australia, France, Wales and South Africa will battle it out. Match schedules for the 2014 world showpiece will be announced at a later date.
Pic via: IRB Total Rugby.