With kick-off fast approaching of Women's Rugby World Cup 2017, we have a little fun with an A-Z of tournament related information.
A is for All Square – There have only been two draws in the history of Women’s Rugby World Cup, both involving Canada.
B is for Belfast – The tournament will move to Belfast for the knockout stages with matches at Kingspan Stadium and Queen’s University.
C is for Rochelle ‘Rocky’ Clark – The England prop is the most capped player in women’s rugby history with 124 caps, but isn’t the only centurion in the Red Roses’ squad as Tamara Taylor joined that club earlier this year.
D is for Debut – Hong Kong will make their Women’s Rugby World Cup debut in 2017 and face four-time champions New Zealand, 2014 runners-up Canada and Wales in Pool A.
E is for England – The defending champions have 15 members of their WRWC 2014-winning squad in Ireland who are targeting back-to-back titles.
F is for Fiao’o Faamausili – The New Zealand hooker will join a select club with Ireland 2017 being her fifth Women’s Rugby World Cup tournament and second as captain. Will she win a fourth title of her career?
G is for Growth – Women’s rugby continues to grow around the world and there are now more than 2.2 million women and girls playing the game.
H is for Hong Kong – The tournament debutants are the only team at WRWC 2017 with a female head coach in Jo Hull. They also have a female coach for their women's sevens team in four-time Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Anna Richards.
I is for Italy – The Azzurre, along with Japan, are back on the World Cup stage after an absence of 15 years.
J is for Jobs – There are more than 75 occupations held by the 336 players at WRWC 2017. A sixth of these players are full-time athletes, including the whole England squad, but other occupations include policewomen, a firefighter, builders, a forklift driver, teachers, students, doctors, correctional officers, women’s rugby development managers, an author, a chief executive, an architect, personal trainers and a vet.
K is for Kingspan Stadium – The home of Ulster Rugby will host the semi-finals and final.
L is for Lleucu George – The 17-year-old who won a Commonwealth Youth Games bronze medal in rugby sevens on the day she was named in the Wales squad for WRWC 2017.
M is for Alison Miller – The winger scored the winning try when the women became the first Irish national team to beat New Zealand at any level at WRWC 2014. It was the Black Ferns’ first WRWC loss since 1991.
N is for New Zealand – The most successful team in Women’s Rugby World Cup history with four titles in a row from 1998-2010 and just two defeats in their six tournaments.
O is for Olympians - There are 35 Rio 2016 across the 12 squads, including Australia’s gold medallists Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams.
P is for Points – The most points scored by a team in a single match is the 134 scored by New Zealand against Germany in 1998.
Q is for Qualification process – The top seven nations at WRWC 2014 qualified automatically and were joined by Wales, Italy, Spain, Japan and Hong Kong through the qualification process.
R is for Rebecca Rowe – The Wales second-row only took up rugby after injury ended a rowing career that saw her win medals for both Great Britain and Wales. She has also won national titles in swimming and is a former world surf live-saving champion.
S is for Sister act – Pool A rivals New Zealand and Canada both have sisters in their squads. For New Zealand two-time WRWC winner Linda Itunu is joined by younger sister Aldora, while Rio 2016 bronze medallist Kelly Russell has her older sister Laura for company.
T is for 27 – The number of Women’s Rugby World Cup winners across the 12 squads, although only New Zealand forwards Fiao’o Faamausili and Linda Itunu have lifted the trophy more than once.
U is for USA – USA Sevens star Alev Kelter was only a few weeks old when the Women’s Eagles won the inaugural tournament in 1991.
V is for Veteran – Two members of Italy’s squad in 2017 – Silvia Gaudino and Veronica Schiavon –were part of the last Azzurre squad to play in a Women’s Rugby World Cup … back in 2002 in Barcelona, Spain.
W is for Portia Woodman – The New Zealand flyer has already won the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series four times, RWC Sevens 2013 and an Olympic silver medal in Rio – will she add the WRWC 2017 title to her incredible CV?
X is for X-factor – Who will rocket their name into the spotlight with their displays at WRWC 2017? With World Cup winners, Olympic medallists, stars of sevens and 15s, rookies and seasoned internationals, the stage is set for the most competitive tournament yet.
Y is for Youngest – Japan scrum-half Moe Tsukui is the youngest player at WRWC 2017 at 17 years, four months and 13 days old when the Sakura 15 kick-off their campaign against France on 9 August.
Z is for Svetlana Zhernovnikova – The Kazakhstan player appeared in a record six Women’s Rugby World Cups from 1994-2014.
The countdown to #RWC2019 begins here!
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