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THE WOMEN’S RUGBY WORLD CUP 2017 -   What you need to know and why you’re all invited

Currently being only one of the two Irish people in the club (shout out Speedy) it almost feels like my duty to formally invite everyone to Ireland to watch the best players in the world play the best game in the world in the best country in the world, so let me give you the lowdown…

Where is it:

The World Cup is set to run from the 9th to the 26th of August 2017 and will be hosted in Belfast and Dublin – inclusive of both the North and the Republic which is important. Matches will be played at the Kingspan’s stadium and the main pitch at Queen’s University Sport in Belfast and at UCD in Dublin.

Pool matches will be played at UCD, playoff matches at Queen’s University & the final played at Kingspan’s, the home of Ulster rugby (I’m sure Megan’s delighted).

It’s exciting to see the involvement of Universities at this professional level, not something that was seen when England hosted the Men’s World Cup and we can only hope it’s a move that will get more girls at the university level interested in playing rugby, particularly in Ireland where rugby vies for popularity against Gaelic football, Hurling and soccer.

Who’s playing:

12 teams will play in the Women’s Rugby World Cup:

The top 7 teams from the 2014 World Cup automatically qualify to play which are Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, France, Canada, USA and England. Then the remaining 5 teams were determined through succeeding at their respective regional tournaments which are Italy, Wales, Spain, Japan and Hong Kong.

The qualified teams were then drawn into 3 pools:

Pool A with Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Wales

Pool B with England, Italy, Spain and the USA

And Pool C with Australia, France, Ireland and Japan

The players will compete in their pools on the 9th, 13th and 17th of August split between UCD Bowl and Billings Park which both belong to UCD.

The defending champions England kick-off the tournament facing Spain, New Zealand v Wales christens Pool A while Ireland face Australia in Pool C on the first day!

The Semi-Finals are to be played on the 22nd of August split between Kingspan Stadium and Queens University in Belfast and the Finals day is the 26th of August and who is gonna play here is yet to be determined… EXCITING STUFF!!!

Side note: if you’re buying tickets for matches in Dublin you’ll pay in Euros, starting from €10-€15 for a day ticket to either venue, but if you’re buying tickets for matches in Belfast you’ll pay in Sterling, £12 per adult on Semi-Final day and £15 per adult on Finals day. Politics is so extra.

You can get them here: www.ticketmaster.co.uk/wrwc2017

Why should you go:

It’s not like you need convincing to show your support the best female rugby players in the world who play a sport which is shamefully overlooked or spend some of your precious summer in a country that can get 255 rainy days out of the 365 we get a year but while you visit us there’s loads to do.

While you’re in Dublin you can tour the Guinness storehouse (duh), tour Kilmainham Gaol a former prison where many famous Irish political and military leaders were detained which remains as a symbol of the tradition of nationalism found in the Republic. You can also visit the Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park where my Grandad took me to feed elephants when I was little and I cried the whole time, alternatively if you prefer stuffed animals you should visit the Natural History department of the National Museum of Ireland also known as the Dead Zoo. Not forgetting the rich literary history in Ireland that we’re shamelessly proud of you can visit the Dublin Writers Museum or go on a walking tour following James Joyce’s life and works if that was something anyone ever wanted to do. Finally, not forgetting Croke Park, you should visit it and the GAA museum and gain an understanding of the sports unique to and obsessed over by an island with half the population of London.

While you’re in Belfast you can tour Titanic Belfast and I heard a rumour you can even Segway around it and learn about what the Titanic was like and what the city was like when it was built, hopefully minus any icebergs. Belfast is also home to Game of Thrones and you can go on day tours of filming locations and many of the tours also let you dress up and play with swords which sounds pretty sweet, there is also the occasional Game of Thrones murder mystery night hosted by The Cuan if you’re that into it. You could take the paranormal tour of the Crumlin Road Gaol which imprisoned up to 900 people during the troubles even though it was only designed to hold 500. If you’re there for the weekend you can visit St. George’s Market on a Friday, named the best indoor market in 2014. Belfast is also within reach of the Giant’s Causeway which as everyone knows was constructed by Finn McCool (honestly that’s his name) and was used by the Scottish Giant Benandonner to travel over to Ireland to fight Finn himself. Finn decided Benandonner was too big to fight so his savvy wife Oonagh put him into the bathtub and dressed him up as a baby. Benandonner took a look at the baby and decided if that was what Finn’s tiny baby looked like he’d hate to fight the man himself and ran back to Scotland smashing the causeway as he went so Finn couldn’t follow him. Or it was due to an ancient volcanic eruption, but I doubt that…

So I’ll see you there, yeah?

Xoxo G


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