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Ireland's main World Cup rivals have arranged their own warm-up tournament in June

Australia will join the world’s top three sides in a six-Test series over eight days in New Zealand this June.

Selicia Winata and Aotearoa Mata'u celebrate victory against Ireland in November.
Selicia Winata and Aotearoa Mata'u celebrate victory against Ireland in November.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

NEW ZEALAND WILL tackle their closest Women’s Rugby World Cup rivals when they host six winter warm-up Tests ahead of Ireland 2017.

The Black Ferns, beaten by Ireland at the last World Cup as they were unable to add to their four straight World Cup wins, will hope to rediscover the title-winning feeling after lining up Tests against reigning world champions England, runners-up Canada as well as Australia.

The Tests also will provide Ireland head coach Tom Tierney a chance to size up the threat posed by Australia ahead of the August World Cup pool clash with the world’s sixth-ranked side.

The six-Test series will feature two curtain-raisers for high profile men’s fixtures, beginning with the double header of New Zealand v Canada and the Super Rugby meeting between the Hurricanes and Chiefs at Wellington’s Westpac Stadium on 9 June.

The hosts’ series will conclude in Rotorua eight days later when they host England ahead of the touring British and Irish Lions fixture against the Maori All Blacks on 17 June.

The Women’s Rugby World Cup begins in Ireland on 9 August.

Here are the full fixture details for the women’s international series.

Friday, 9 June – Wellington:

Black Ferns v Canada, Westpac Stadium (followed by Hurricanes v Chiefs)

Australia v England, Porirua Park

Tuesday, 13 June – Christchurch:

Black Ferns v Australia, Rugby Park
Canada v England, Rugby Park

Saturday, 17 June – Rotorua:

Black Ferns v England, Rotorua International Stadium (followed by Maori All Blacks v British and Irish Lions)

Australia v Canada, Smallbone Park

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Sean Farrell

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