Belfast Telegraph

Five players to watch out for at the Women's Rugby World Cup

As the Women's Rugby World Cup gets underway - we look at five players who could emerge among the competition's star performers.

PORTIA WOODMAN (New Zealand)

Speed merchant Woodman is among the most devastating and prolific finishers. She was part of New Zealand's silver medal-winning sevens squad at the Rio Olympics, while her form in the 15-a-side code has proved equally impressive. The 26-year-old's father and uncle were 1980s All Blacks, and Woodman is now maintaining that proud family tradition of performing at her sport's highest level.

EMILY SCARRATT (England)

A mainstay since she burst on to the Test scene nine years ago, centre Scarratt is a proven match-winner, which was perfectly illustrated during the 2014 World Cup final against Canada when she scored 16 points to steer her team home. If she hits top form then England will benefit hugely.

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Emily Scarratt in action at Twickenham.

SAFI N'DIAYE (France)

France could emerge as contenders to lift the World Cup, and key to those hopes will be back-row forward N'Diaye. She starred at the World Cup on home soil three years ago and maintained that form in the Six Nations. A strong runner, who has the ball-handing skills of a back, the 29-year-old will be at the forefront of France's challenge.

CLAIRE MOLLOY (Ireland)

Not only is Molloy a key player for Ireland, she has been thrust into the spotlight by taking over from injured star player Niamh Briggs as captain. The 29-year-old flanker offers great experience of the Test arena and will be integral to Irish hopes of making an impact on the tournament's latter stages.

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Ready for business: Claire Molloy is relishing home World Cup

MAGALI HARVEY (Canada)

Canada's goal-kicking wing is back for more, having played a key role in her team's march to the 2014 World Cup final. Harvey made such an impact on that tournament, she was named women's world player of the year 2014, and remains the only Canadian player to achieve that honour. Like France, Canada are fancied by many over the next couple of weeks, with Harvey essential to any trophy-winning hopes.

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