When teams set their sights on the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup, each team had their objectives. In Pool C at this years World Cup tournament, the mix of teams see’s the Australian Wallaroos fighting for redemption, and the hosts planning to again reach new heights.
They Wallaroos are matched against the host nation, with the tournament shifting from France  over to the Emerald Isle. 11 nations join Ireland in celebrating the strong health of the women’s game currently. This will be the popular Women’s Rugby World Cup (WRWC2017) and Pool C will be the one to watch.
The fourth, fifth and sixth ranked sides are all involved, and will battle it out in a three-way fight to reach the semifinal.
Billings Park in Dublin; along with fixtures in Belfast, Northern Ireland, will see the rugby world focus on the women’s game. All nations will try to wear down the current World Cup holders England.
Australian Wallaroos Fighting For Redemption
Including three of the Tier One nations, Pool C will hold plenty of star power. That includes Rio Olympic Gold medalists Sharni Willliams and Shannon Parry bringing their range of skills to the Aussies XV’s team. France also have their sevens stars involved too, showing the influence from the Women’s Sevens Series.
That mix will show the strengths of both games; speed and alertness of sevens, versus the stamina and solid play of the XV’s game.
Ireland will be a totally enthusiastic competitor in front of home fans. One can imagine that side creating more history–as their men’s side did in 2016. And with Japan adding the flavor to the group, the Asian team are no stranger to upsets.
So the mix is probably one of the more open pools, and even Last Word on Sport find it hard to pick one outright leader. So follow Jovilisi Waqa casts an eye over the four competitors.
Pool C – Assessing the Rugby World Cup Pools; Teams-by-team
World Ranking: 4th | 2014 World Cup finish: 3rd
Women’s World Cup Record: 1991 (Third), 1994 (Third), 1998 (Eighth), 2002 (Third), 2006 (Third), 2010 (Fourth)
The French have always played well in World Cups like the Mens side. This year they have opted for youth and experience too with the sevens players featuring in the backs.
With a good platform laid out by the forwards expect the likes of Jade Le Pesq together with Marjorie Mayans and Shannon Izar to fire the backs. Gaelle Mignot will lead the side in Ireland.
Forwards Manon Andre, Mignot together with centers Caroline Ladagnous and Elodie Poublan all return for their fourth World Cup. Mignot and Poubland are most-capped with 65 appearances with fly-half ans sevens star Amdee Montserratt the only uncapped player.
Plenty firepower in the side with fullback Jessy Tremouliere and Number Eight Safi N’Diaye the ones to watch. N’Diaye’s battle with Japanese number eight Bogidrau Mateitoga will be worth the watch.
French squad: Head coach Samuel Cherouk
- Forwards: Manon Andre, Julie Annery, Lise Arricastre, Patricia Carricaburu, Lénaig Corson, Annaëlle Deshayes, Julie Duval, Céline Ferer, Audrey Forlani, Romane Menager, Gaëlle Mignot (captain), Safi N’Diaye, Caroline Thomas, Dhia Traore.
- Backs: Audrey Abadie, Montserrat Amedee, Caroline Boujard, Caroline Drouin, Elodie Guiglion, Shannon Izar, Caroline Ladagnous, Jade Le Pesq, Marjorie Mayans, Carla Neisen, Chloé Pelle, Elodie Poublan, Yanna Rivoalen, Jessy Tremouliere.
World Ranking: 5th| 2014 World Cup finish: 4th
Women’s World Cup Record: 1994 (Seventh), 1998 (Tenth), 2002 (Fourteenth), 2006 (Eighth), 2010 (Seventh)
Hosts Ireland were dealt a big blow this week when they lost captain Niamh Briggs. She was on the verge of playing in her third World Cup with Claire Molloy, Nora Stapleton and Marie-Louise Reilly.
Ailis Egan, Heather O’Brien, Sophie Spence, Ashleigh Baxter, Paula Fitzpatrick, Alison Miller, Larissa Muldoon and Jenny Murphy are the survivors from France 2014.
Like other sides they have roped in their sevens stars too including uncapped halfback Nicole Cronin. Hannah Tyrrell, Katie Fitzhenry, Sene Naoupu, Baxter and Miller bring their own flavor and speed to the side. So the warning to others is ‘don’t be like the Black Ferns were, who learned the hard way in 2014 what is like to underestimate the Irish’.
“The opportunity to play in a World Cup on home soil is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
“While we are in a tough pool with Australia, Japan and our Six Nations rivals France, I am sure the players will rise to the occasion in front of their home fans.” Tom Tierney said on worldrugby.org.
Irish squad Head coach: Tom Tierney
- Forwards: Ashleigh Baxter, Anna Caplice, Ciara Cooney, Ailis Egan, Paula Fitzpatrick, Ciara Griffin, Leah Lyons, Claire Molloy, Cliodhna Moloney, Heather O’Brien, Ciara O’Connor, Ruth O’Reilly, Lindsay Peat, Marie-Louise Reilly, Sophie Spence.
- Backs: Niamh Briggs (captain), Eimear Considine, Mairead Coyne, Nicole Cronin, Jeamie Deacon, Katie Fitzhenry, Claire McLaughlin, Alison Miller, Larissa Muldoon, Jenny Murphy, Sene Naoupu, Nora Stapleton, Hannah Tyrrell.
World Ranking: 6th | 2014 World Cup finish: 7th
Women’s World Cup Record: 1998 (Fifth), 2002 (Fifth), 2006 (Seventh), 2010 (Third)
Its a mixture of youth and experience for the Wallaroos as they chase redemption for Aussie Rugby, on the International stage. With their Men’s side lingering in oblivion in the latest Test series, maybe the ladies can ‘step it up’.
Aussie Sevens co-captains Sharni Williams and Shannon Parry will be playing in their third World Cup tournament. Williams will captain the side, and the two stars hold 156 test caps between them.
Beside the experience, two uncapped players make the cut. That includes feisty Mahalia Murphy and fly-half Trileen Pomare.
“We have a really competitive pool with Ireland, France and Japan and we know that there’s no such thing as an easy game at a World Cup. We’re really looking forward to pulling on that gold jersey and doing it proud.” Head coach Paul Verell on worldrugby.org
Wallaroos squad Head coach: Paul Verell
- Forwards: Millie Boyle, Chloe Butler, Cheyenne Campbell, Rebecca Clough, Mollie Gray, Grace Hamilton, Alisha Hewett, Evelyn Horomia, Kiri Lingman, Hana Ngaha, Shannon Parry, Liz Patu, Emily Robinson, Hilisha Samoa, Alexandra Sulusi, Violeta Tupuola.
- Backs: Katrina Barker, Fenella Hake, Ashleigh Hewson, Nareta Marsters, Mahalia Murphy, Trilleen Pomare, Sarah Riordan, Kayla Sauvao, Huia Swanell, Ashleigh Timoko, Samantha Treherne, Sharni Williams
World Ranking: 14th | 2014 World Cup Finish: did not appear
Women’s World Cup Record: 1991 (Plate quarter-finalists), 1994 (Eighth), 2002 (13th)
Their Men’s side rocked the World Cup in 2015, so will the Sakura girls follow suit? They are enthusiastic and play to the whistle. Fast around the park and should never be underestimated. Just ask the Fiji girls – beaten 55-0 – who were no match for their speed around the ruck.
Big Fijian-born number eight Mateitoga Bogidraumainadave will be the one to watch, like Amanaki Mafi at the RWC 2015 did.
The side is full of contrast: High school student Moe Tsukui is the youngest in the squad, at just 17-years old. Captain Siena Saito is the most capped player in the squad, with 16 matches. However, more than half of the squad have played five or less times for Japan. How that inexperience affects pool play is unknown.
“For the sake of our predecessors who have led women’s rugby this far. And those who will take on a role in future of Japanese women’s rugby, we want to achieve our aim of reaching the top eight. Then we hand it over to RWC 2019 men in Japan.” captain Seina Saito told worldrugby.org.
Sakura Squad Head coach: Goshi Arimizu
Forwards: Makoto Ebuchi, Mizuho Kataoka, Seina Saito (captain), Ayano Sakurai, Yui Shiozaki, Yuki Sue, Ayaka Suzuki, Sayaka Suzuki, Misaki Suzuki, Maki Takano, Aya Nakajima, Ai Hyugaji, Maiko Fujimoto, Mateitoga Bogdraumanadave, Saki Minami, Aoi Mimura.
Backs: Keiko Kato, Riho Kurogi, Mayu Shimizu, Ai Tasaka, Moe Tsukui, Honoka Tsutsumi, Makiko Tomita, Iroha Nagata, Yumeno Noda, Eriko Hirano, Wasana Fukushima, Minori Yamamoto.
Three-Way Battle in Pool C
This Pool could go either way, depending on who wants it the most. Each of the pool matches must be treated as the ‘final before making any final’.
Ireland is at home; they must be considered a chance, with France a consistent performer. On the other hand, Australia and Japan are the underdogs. Japan have a habit of reaching highs against bigger opponents, so it is not beyond that proud nation.
Out of all of the groups, this Pool is truly anyone’s for the taking.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images