Ireland confirmed as hosts of the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup
Ireland have been selected as hosts for the Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017.
The IRFU intends to host the tournament pool stages at University College Dublin before moving to Belfast for semi-finals and finals at Queens University Sport and the newly developed Kingspan Stadium.
It is a huge coup for Ireland and the women's team who are the current Six Nations champions.
Ireland caused one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Women's Rugby World Cup last year when they consigned New Zealand to their first defeat in the competition for 23 years before being beaten by eventual champions England in the semis.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “Women’s Rugby World Cup continues to go from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe, with its compelling, competitive action and global profile.
“With impressive results on and off the field, the IRFU is a leader in driving forward the promotion and development of women’s rugby and the union’s passion, dedication and expertise in women’s rugby was reflected in an impressive and forward think.
“The awarding of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 to Ireland is great news for teams and fans as the sport continues to reach out and inspire new participants in our great game. I am sure that Dublin and Belfast will prove to be popular destinations.”
On announcement of the successful bid for Women's Rugby World Cup 2007, IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement that Irish Rugby will host the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup. Interest and participation in women's rugby continues to grow and building on this momentum we believe Ireland can deliver the best Women's Rugby World Cup to-date.
“We hope that the growing interest in women's rugby in Ireland, world leading facilities at UCD, Queen’s University Sport, Kingspan Stadium and our internationally recognised reputation for being one of the world's most welcoming nations will make an exceptional event for the entire country.
“We would like to thank World Rugby for the opportunity to host this prestigious event and look forward to working closely with them to bring the tournament to these shores."
Ireland's ability to stage the Women's World Cup successfully could prove vital in a successful bid to host the men's event in 2023.
More to follow