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Holders England could face Scotland in Women's Rugby World Cup pool stage

Published 09/11/2016

England celebrate their Women's World Cup success in 2014
England celebrate their Women's World Cup success in 2014

Holders England could face Scotland in the pool stage of next year's Women's Rugby World Cup in Ireland.

England, crowned world champions two years ago after beating Canada in Paris, have been grouped with the United States, Italy and a European qualifier.

The remaining European place will be filled by Scotland or Spain, who meet over two legs in Glasgow and Madrid later this month to decide the fourth Pool B team.

Host nation Ireland are in Pool C, where they will be joined by France, Australia and either Fiji, Hong Kong or Japan.

And Wales will be in Pool A alongside New Zealand and Canada, plus the Asia/Oceania qualifying section runners-up.

The tournament takes place from August 9-26 next year, with pool games being played in Dublin and the play-off rounds taking place in Belfast, where Wednesday's draw was held.

The eighth Women's World Cup final is scheduled for August 26 at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast.

Reflecting on the pool composition, England women's head coach Simon Middleton told www.englandrugby.com: " Every game needs to be treated on its merits, and delivering to the high standards we set ourselves will be our objective from the outset.

"This is a World Cup, and we anticipate an outstanding level of competition.

"We expect tough games and will continue to prepare for the World Cup with a single focus of retaining the title."

Speaking at the draw, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: " The last Women's Rugby World Cup in France was a watershed moment for the women's game, with record crowds and massive TV audiences watching across the world.

" There are some fantastic matches in store in August, and, with over two million women and girls currently playing the sport, I have no doubt that next year's Women's Rugby World Cup in Dublin and Belfast will be a fantastic event and encourage many more women and girls to get involved with the sport."

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