Dublin and Belfast will host Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 after World Rugby awarded the hosting rights for to the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) overnight.
With Women’s Rugby continuing to experience record global growth, the pool stages will be held at University College Dublin, before the world’s top female Rugby players convene in Belfast for the semi-finals and positional play-offs at Queen’s University Sport and the magnificent Kingspan Stadium.
World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Women’s Rugby World Cup continues to go from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe, with its compelling, competitive action and global profile.
There are now more than 1.7 million women and girls playing the sport (an increase of 20 per cent on 2014), while women’s rugby also continues to experience record growth in popularity, attendance and media exposure driven by the success of Women’s Rugby World Cup and Olympic Games inclusion.
Australian Rugby Union General Manager, Pathways and Performance, Ben Whitaker said it’s an exciting time for women in Rugby.
“The 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup location locked in means we can ramp up our preparation for the Wallaroos, as they look to improve on their seventh place finish in 2014.” Said Whitaker.
“Women’s Rugby continues to shine in Australia with over 12,000 women participating last year. We are also seeing rapid growth in Women’s Sevens ahead of the Rio Olympics, with around 14,000 women competing in 2014 and enjoying both forms of the game."
“The opportunity to be compete at a Rugby World Cup and the Olympics in a 12 month period is an exciting prospect for the sport.”
Women’s Rugby World Cup is being brought forward by one year to 2017 tie in with the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens cycles for the world’s top female players. The event will return to a four-year cycle after 2017.