herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Irish hosts with most when it comes to Rugby World Cup

Coach Tierney to make Ireland's women into contenders for 2017

Irish Women's Rugby captain Niamh Briggs, left, and IRFU Women's Rugby Ambassador Fiona Coghlan in attendance at the announcement that Ireland won the bid to be the host nation for the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup. Ballsbridge Hotel
Irish Women's Rugby captain Niamh Briggs, left, and IRFU Women's Rugby Ambassador Fiona Coghlan in attendance at the announcement that Ireland won the bid to be the host nation for the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup. Ballsbridge Hotel

The IRFU have won the right to stage the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup.

It will be a joint-effort between Dublin and Belfast. The pool stages will be held at University College Dublin, some of the play-offs at Queen's University and the semi-finals and final at the 18,000 capacity Kingspan Stadium.

"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," said the IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne.

In the last two Women's World Cups, there have been unprecedented crowds and record broadcast audiences in England in 2010 which was improved on in France last year.

Research has shown the explosive growth in the Women's game with 1.7 million women and girls playing the sport in 2015.

This is an increase of 20 per cent on 2014, the wide reaching coverage of the competition in France driving the expansion.

The sport continues to experience record growth in popularity, attendance and media exposure with their involvement in the Olympic Games playing its part too. Ireland has been at the forefront of the success story.

They created history in 2013 when completing a Six Nations Grand Slam.

They were competitive in 2014 and were back to claim the title again earlier this year with a final day win in Scotland.

"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," said Browne.

"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."

More than that, Ireland coach Tom Tierney will not be content to stand back and watch it happen.

It will could even tempt the nation's crossover athletes to move from gaelic games or athletics, for instance, for the opportunity to represent their country on a world stage at home.

"It is huge boost for our sport that Ireland has been selected by World Rugby to host such a prestigious event and it will be a privilege for all of us to be involved.

"We will now keep building our team and squad as we look forward to leading an Irish team out on home soil in rugby's showpiece tournament for women's rugby."

The girls in green made the semi-final for the first in France last year, where they eventually went out to champions England, taking the celebrated scalp of New Zealand on the way there, with their current captain Niamh Briggs their standout marks-woman from full-back.

"It is an honour to represent your country in a World Cup, and the idea of representing your county on home turf is unbelievable," she stated.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News