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The Australian Women's Rugby team, the Wallaroos will meet Wales, South Africa and hosts, France in Pool C of the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 following the pool allocation draw in Paris on Thursday.
Australia’s third placing in the 2010 World Cup meant the Wallaroos wouldn’t be placed in the same pool as either of the top two teams, England and New Zealand.
Wallaroos Head Coach, Paul Verrell said the pool allocation puts them in a good position as it means, if all goes to plan, Australia won’t meet England or New Zealand until the semi-finals.
“We were lucky, we knew we weren’t going to put in their pool given our third-place finish in the last World Cup.
“Wales and South Africa were in our pool in 2010 and we were able to beat both of them last time. France may be a bit tougher this time around and being the home nation, I’m expecting they’ll be stronger than they have been previously.
“South Africa had a fair win to qualify for this World Cup. But all sides have moved on a lot with their programs since 2010. It will be interesting to see where they sit in the next six months and get some footage of the games so we can prepare,” Verrell said.
In the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup Australia drew in Pool A with Wales, New Zealand and South Africa.
Back then Australia progressed through the pool stage winning two out of the three games, including an emphatic 62 – 0 victory over South Africa and 26 – 12 triumph over Wales, before going down to New Zealand by 32 – 5.
Despite finishing with the same amount of total match points as Canada and Ireland, Australia’s 93 points for, which included 14 tries, earned them entry into the semis with France, England and New Zealand.
England’s 15 to nil defeat over Australia in the 2010 semi-final saw them advance to play New Zealand in what was the third consecutive time the two sides had met in a Women’s Rugby World Cup final.
New Zealand’s Black Ferns took home their fourth straight World Cup title after a thrillingly close 13 – 10 final score, while Australia sealed third position by beating France 22 – 8 in the 3rd/4th play-off.
It was a huge advance for the Wallaroos after finishing seventh in the previous World Cup in 2006.
The Wallaroos training squad of 36 for the Women’s Rugby World Cup next year was announced earlier this month. Members of the training squad will stay in their home states and work with local coaches in skills-based training programs in November this year.
The squad will assemble for their first camp in February 2014 before the team is trimmed to 26 for the inaugural International Series against Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand and Canada in New Zealand in May and June next year.
Verrell said the tour to New Zealand means a lot to the squad, with the opportunity to see where they sit against Canada and New Zealand.
“It’ll enable us to be much better prepared than what we’ve been in the past.
“There are a lot of girls in the squad who are committed to having a real go at this World Cup. With a good base of players that have already been there, plus younger girls coming through, we have a good combination,” Verrell said.
The Wallaroos will be one of 12 teams to compete in next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in France.
Australia qualified automatically with New Zealand, England, hosts France, USA and Canada following the last Rugby World Cup. Other teams include Ireland, Wales, Spain, Kazakhstan, Samoa, and South Africa.
The pools for the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2014 are:
Pool A - England, Canada, Spain, Samoa
Pool B - New Zealand, USA, Ireland, Kazakhstan
Pool C - Australia, France, Wales, South Africa
The Women’s Rugby World Cup matches will take place on August 1, 5, 9 and 13, with the Final played on August 17. Match schedules will be announced at a later date.