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The eighth Women’s Rugby World Cup gets under way on Wednesday with matches in Dublin and Belfast.
Speaking at the launch last week, Ireland captain Claire Molloy the team was “raring to go, we just want to play our first game”.
“It has been a long time coming, you prepare for a World Cup basically for three years and you are waiting for this one game to play so it is kind of electric.”
The Dublin Chamber of Commerce said the tournament is worth at least €5million to the capital’s economy.
“It’s expected that hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup will account for around 15,000 bed nights in Dublin,” a spokesman for the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said.
“Based on independent studies we’ve carried out on how much rugby fans typically spend when visiting Dublin, we would estimate that the games will be worth a minimum of €5m to the Dublin economy.”
The Dublin Commerce of Chamber said “the matches will provide a wonderful opportunity for Ireland to market itself to the world”.
When and where?
The tournament runs from August 9th-26th. The opening game sees current champions England take on Spain at the UCD Bowl at 2pm on Wednesday. Ireland opens its campaign against Australia, also at the UCD Bowl, at 7pm on Wednesday. The pool stages take place in Dublin at the UCD Bowl and Billings Park in UCD before switching to Belfast where the playoff matches will be staged at Queen’s University Belfast and the Kingspan stadium.
The final will be played at Kingspan stadium on Saturday, August 26th at 7.45pm.
What’s the format?
The 12 countries that have qualified are divided into three pools of four teams. The three pool winners and the best runner-up will make the semi-finals, while the remaining countries will face re-ranking playoff games that will determine whether they contest fifth-eighth or ninth-12th places. There will be five matches for each country in total.
Who are the favourites?
England are the world ranked number one side and have enjoyed the benefit of a full time, professional squad - that status changes after the competition - for the tournament. They will be looking to defend the title they won in 2014. (The tournament runs on a four-year cycle but has been brought forward a year to avoid clashing with the Sevens World Cup and Commonwealth Games in 2018).
Ireland won four out of five matches in the 2017 Women’s Six Nations, including edging past France 13-10 at Donnybrook, who they’ll face in the pool stages. They are currently number five in the world rankings.
Are there tickets available?
All tickets for the pool stages are sold out while there are some available from Ticketmaster for the playoffs, semis and final.
Are games being broadcast on television?
RTÉ has secured the rights to broadcast all of Ireland’s Women’s Rugby World Cup games plus the final across TV, radio and online. Eir Sport and ITV will also be broadcasting games.