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Cork Independent

Sport

WRC kicks off amid Irish hopes

Wednesday, 9th August, 2017 4:37pm

The country has welcomed players and fans from corners of the world as the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup competition kicked-off in Dublin last night.

Ireland were facing Australia in their opening fixture at the UCD Bowl with the result still undetermined at the time of print.

The team is coached by Tom Tierney who took up his position after a stint at Cork Constitution while Highfield's Heather O'Brien was in the starting 15 to face Australia while her club-mate Leah Lyons was a substitute for the game.

Experienced full-back Niamh Briggs will lay no part in Ireland's campaign after being ruled out of the contest with a back injury. Ireland's next game is on Sunday against Japan at the same venue with kick-off at 5.15pm while their third fixture of the pool stage is against France on Thursday 17 August.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD and Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, wished the Irish Women’s Rugby team well saying: “I want to wish the squad, the management and all the backroom staff every success as they begin their journey. Losing Niamh is, of course, a big disappointment, but the management and squad have prepared very well, and I am drawn to the quote 'Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.' As Minister for Tourism I’m also delighted to welcome our rugby sports tourists to our shores. We hope you enjoy the event and return again soon'.”

The last Women's Rugby World Cup took place in 2014 in France and was a historic occasion for Ireland who beat New Zealand 14-17 in the pool stages. Ireland lost to eventual champions England at the semi-final stage.

Meanwhile, here’s just three weeks until Munster’s 2017-2018 PRO14 campaign kicks-off at home to Treviso in Irish Independent Park.

Following that game, Munster will face PRO14 newcomers, South African side the Toyota Cheetahs, at Thomond Park in the second series of fixtures on 9 September at 5.15pm.

Munster’s first interprovincial derby is a repeat of last year with Leinster at the Aviva on Saturday 7 October for round 6. Following the break for European action, the province returns to PRO14 rugby with a Friday night kick off at the Sportsground against Connacht on 27 October, and a week later, Friday night lights continues with the Dragons in Irish Independent Park on 3 November.

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