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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 28 October 2020

Here's what to expect when the Women's World Cup comes to Ireland

2017 can’t come soon enough.

TODAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT THAT the next Women’s Rugby World Cup is bound for Ireland was another massive fillip for a sport that has pushed the boundaries of perceived possibilities in recent years.

The Ireland players line up as the New Zealand players perform the Haka before Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

We’re sure Tom Tierney’s Six Nations champions will live up to their end of the bargain and give us more moments to treasure when they’re all two years older and wiser, but what else can we expect from the tournament in 2017?

The venues

To anyone not paying attention when the bid was announced two months ago, the 2017 World Cup will be played in two cities.


UCD will be the first home for the players in the tournament. Much like the most recent World Cup in Marcoussis, France, the aim is to house squads in the grounds of the university where they will play.

On top of numerous training fields, there will be two match venues in UCD with six group stage fixtures to be played on each matchday.

General view of the Belfield Bowl Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO


Former Ireland Women’s captain Fiona Coghlan was enthusiastic about the tournament’s dual-location status today, saying:

“Sometimes you can be in a bit of a cocoon in a World Cup. Three weeks in one place is a bit tough so to move it might liven it up a bit.”

General view of Kingspan Stadium Source: James Crombie/INPHO

The action will certainly be lively when the first knock-out fixture is played in Queen’s University. The campus will also hold the play-off for third-fourth, fifth-sixth etc.

The final will be in the recently renovated 18,000-capacity Kingspan Stadium (née Ravenhill), about which Coghlan added:

“The facilities in Kingspan Stadium are excellent. I think it’s the perfect size for a Women’s World Cup final and hopefully Ireland will be in it.”

The competition

The Women’s World Cup is composed of 12 teams divided in to three groups. The winner of the three groups plus the best runner-up advance to the semi-finals.

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The remaining sides are ranked by group performance and paired off in play-offs to determine a final ranking.

The Schedule

Obviously, we’re still two years away from the thing, but it will likely follow a similar format to the last World Cup with UCD hosting 18 group fixtures to be played on three separate matchdays in August 2017.

General view of the team warming up Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

After that, the latter stages will be held in Belfast on two matchdays. The whole tournament will be played within the space of three weeks with just a few days of recovery and preparation time between fixtures.

Who to watch out for

Ireland finished fourth at the 2014 World Cup, knocked out by eventual champions England who promise to be formidable opposition in two years’ time.

Having inflicted just a second ever defeat on New Zealand in last year’s tournament, the Black Ferns would surely have a point to prove if they were drawn to face Ireland again at any stage.

Kathy McLean with the trophy Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Unlike the men’s game, North America also boasts real contenders with Canada losing out in last year’s final and the USA having already won a

The quality

Canada’s Magali Harvey scored the try of the tournament – along with player of the tournament – last time out with this piece of coast-to-coast magic.

Source: World Rugby/YouTube

Deservedly so, but this will always be our favourite score in that World Cup.

Source: Murray Kinsella/YouTube

Bring it on.

World Rugby to stump up €1 Million of IRFU’s World Cup bill

Archive>>  The unforgettable day Ireland beat New Zealand at the World Cup

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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