On Wednesday the 9th August, one of the most anticipated female sporting competitions kicked off in Ireland. The Women’s Rugby World Cup has returned to the stage this year in Dublin and we have our fingers crossed for our talented red roses to succeed in their upcoming games, having won the cup in 2014.
Serving as the eighth tournament, the Women’s Rugby World Cup will be taking place three years after the previous world cup: this is due to the men’s world cup wanting to avoid clashing with any other major calendar events. We can expect to see some spectacular performances by all of the ladies playing having seen stunning performances by all of the teams so far. Particularly with two matches played by England, Spain, Ireland, and Australia, we are in for a cracking performance.
Over the past few years, women’s rugby has grown in recognition and especially women’s sports in general, seeing more promotions for tournaments and matches, such as the women’s cricket team and women’s football gaining more TV coverage. The previous taboos surrounding female sports appear to be dissolving, which is great news for the athletes and those who want to take up the game. One of these is the misconception that you will be hurt if you play a sport, yet a statement made by the RFU has crushed this as they planned to double female participation by 2021 and have successfully reached their target ahead of schedule.
The World Cup will consist of twelve teams participating. As well as traditional rugby nations – such as England, France, Ireland, Wales, Italy, Australia and New Zealand – Spain, Canada, the USA, Japan and Hong Kong are also competing. Scotland, however, failed to qualify.
There are three pools with four teams in each. Each pool winner will continue to the semi-finals. The fourth berth goes to the best second-placed team., but the remaining eight teams will stay until the finals day, playing for 5th to 12th-place seedings, and each team will play five games.
With the Red Roses having won their first match against Spain with a score of 56-5, the support for the team before playing has only grown in strength. The England RFU team behind the social media promotion for the ladies has been impeccable with regular updates via the press and platforms such as Facebook and Instagram playing a huge role in helping their fans stay updated and helping to inspire the next generation of players.
Prince Harry has also played an important role in boosting awareness for the World Cup with his message for the England team. As Patron of the RFU since December last year and a huge rugby fan, Prince Harry encouraged the nation to get behind the Red Roses as they began their title defence against Spain last Wednesday:
“I want to wish you the very best of luck at the Women’s Rugby World Cup this August.
“Having already beaten Australia, Canada and New Zealand this summer, I hope our Red Roses can lift the cup again.
“I know you’re inspiring more women and girls to take up rugby than ever before, helping to reach the target of 50,000 female players in England by 2021.
“I’m sure that you will have the whole nation behind you as you take on the world in Ireland – good luck, bring it home.”
The World Cup matches will be shown on ITV4 with the next match taking place on the 13th August, with New Zealand facing Hong Kong at 12.00, England against Italy at 2.30, United States of America taking on Spain at 2.45, Canada battling Wales at 5.00 , Ireland versus Japan at 5.15, and France knuckling down against Australia at 7.45.
The final will take place on the 26th August at 7.45 with the semi-finals being held on the 22nd August at 5.00 and 7.45 pm on ITV4.
Below you can find all the important match dates and how to keep up with all the action on the Women’s World Cup social media links:
CAN V NZL
ENG V USA
ITA V ESP
AUS V JPN
WAL V HKG
FRA V IRE