New Zealand’s Black Ferns seek a fourth title when the women’s Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday, August 20 in England with 12 teams gunning for top honors.
Only two-time finalists and hosts England pose a threat. They have been drawn in Pool, A which also has Wales, Australia and South Africa. The tournament is being held for only the sixth time.
Winners in each pool and the best-placed team shall proceed to the semi-final. New Zealand who beat England at the 2006 final are the top seeds, with hosts England seeded second and France third. This is according to the ranking after the completion of the 2006 tournament.
The top three teams qualified directly together with Canada, USA and South Africa. Wales and Ireland qualified through their placings in the last Six Nations tournament, while Sweden and Scotland (Europe), Australia (Oceania) and Kazakhstan (Asia) made the event though regional play-offs.
South Africa carries the continental flag with an experienced squad that has nine players from the previous IRB Women’s Rugby World cup compaign. The team is captained by flanker Mandisa Williams of Eastern Province. It is the second time that South Africa will be at the global event after finishing eighth in 2006.
According to coach Denver Wannies, nine players will be appearing in the World Cup final for the second time and 10 who were in Dubai for the inaugural Women’s World Cup Sevens have climbed up the ladder to the 15’s code. Latest news from the training camp in Port Elizabeth is that flanker Tami Faleni has a shoulder injury and has been replaced by Pulane Motloung of Golden Lions. Their opening match is against New Zealand’s Black Ferns on Friday, August 20.
Pool A: New Zealand, Wales, Australia, South Africa
Pool B: England, USA, Ireland, Kazakstan
Pool C: France, Canada, Scotland, Sweden
Fixtures: August 20: Canada v Scotland, Wales v Australia, USA v Kazakhstan, New Zealand v South Africa, France v Sweden, England v Ireland; August 24: Wales v South Africa, France v Scotland, Canada v Sweden, New Zealand v Australia, USA v Ireland, USA v Ireland, England v Kazakhstan; August 28: Scotland v Sweden, New Zealand v Wales, France v Canada, Australia v South Africa, Ireland v Kazakhstan, England v USA.
New Zealand: Kelly Brazier, Kendra Cocksedge, Monalisa Codling, Fiao’o Faamausili, Victoria Grant, Victoria Heighway, Trish Hina, Carla Hohepa, Rebecca Hull, Halie Hurring, Linda Itunu, Emma Jensen, Justine Lavea, Huriana Manuel, Ruth McKay, Mel Ngatai, Karina Penetito, Casey Robertson, Vita Robinson, Amiria Rule, Melissa Ruscoe (Captain), Aroha Savage, Joan Sione, Doris Taufateau, Steph TeOhaere-Fox, Renee Wickliffe.
England: Claire Allan, Margaret Alphonsi, Charlotte Barras, Sarah Beale, Rachael Burford, Rochelle Clark, Rosemarie Crowley, Rebecca Essex, Heather Fisher, Amy Garnett, Sophie Hemming, Sarah Hunter, Emma Layland, La Toya Mason, Joanna McGilchrist, Katy McLean (VC), Katherine Merchant, Amber Penrith, Fiona Pocock, Claire Purdy, Alice Richardson, Emily Scarratt, Catherine Spencer (C), Tamara Taylor, Amy Turner, Danielle Waterman.
South Africa: Aimee Barrett, Saloma Booysen, Lorinda Brown, Phumeza Gadu, Zenay Jordaan, Charmaine Kayser, Yoland Meiring, Zandile Nojoko, Fundiswa Plaatjie, Cherne Roberts, Daphne Scheepers, Ziyanda Tywaleni, Nolusindiso Bool, Nedene Botha, Nomathamsanqa Faleni, Laurian Johannes, Portia Jonga, Cabisa Kula, Dolly Mavumengwana, Nambulelo Mayongo, Onicca Moaga, Lamla Momoti, Cynthia Poswa, Donna Sidumbu, Nahmia Siyolo, Mandisa Williams.
Wales: Jenny Davies, Lowri Harries, Catrin Edwards, Rhian Bowden, Gemma Hallett, Shona Powell-Hughes, Louise Rickard, Rachel Taylor, Catrina Nicholas, Jamie Kift, Sioned Harries, Lisa Newton, Caryl Thomas, Amy Day, Laura Prosser, Awen Thomas, Naomi Thomas, Mared Evans, Clare Flowers, Ceri Redman, Mellissa Berry, Caryl James, Non Evans, Elinor Snowsill, Elen Evans.
Australia: Iliseva Batibasaga, Nicole Beck, Tricia Brown, Erin Caldwell, Cheyenne Campbell, Rebecca Clough, Dalena Dennison, Kelli Donnelly, Kristy Giteau, Alexandra Hargreaves, Ashley Hewson, Debby Hodgkinson, Tuaine Ina Mate, Stacey Kilmister, Tasha Leota, Emerena Marsh, Danielle Meskell, Cobie Morgan, Lindsay Morgan, Tui Ormsby, Shannon Parry, Kylie Pennell, Michelle Perry, Silei Poluleuligaga, Kate Porter, Natalie Reid, Chris Ross, Brooke Rowlands, Saofaiga Saemo, Se’ei Sa’u, Megan Shanahan, Ruan Sims, Cheryl Soon, Alana Thomas, Selene Thornton, Rebecca Trethowan, Caroline Vakalahi, Melissa Waterford, Margaret Watson, Sharni Williams.
USA: Sharon Blaney, Stacey Bridges, Jamie Burke, Lisa Butts, Melanie Denham, Farrah Douglas, Blair Groefsema, Phaidra Knight, Jillion Potter, Beckett Royce, Lara Vivolo, Kittery Wagner, Maurin Wallace, Kristin Zdanczewicz, Claudia Braymer, Emilie Bydwell, Amy Daniels, Ashley English, Victoria Folayan, Melissa Kanuk, Ashley Kmiecik, Lynelle Kugler, Kim Magrini, Nathalie Marchino, Vanesha McGee, Christy Ringgenberg, Reserves: Stephanie Bruce, Naima Reddick, Kate Daley, Hannah Stolba.
Scotland: Alison Macdonald, Beth Dickens, Celia Hawthorn, Donna Kennedy, Erin Kerr, Gillian McCord, Heather Lockhart, Katy Green, Keri Holdsworth, Lindsay Wheeler, Louise Dalgliesh, Louise Moffat, Lucy Millard, Lynne Reid, Lynsey Douglas, Nicola Halfpenny, Rosalind Murphy, Ruth Slaven, Sarah Gill, Sarah-Louise Walker, Stephanie Johnston, Susannah Brown, Suzi Newton, Tess Forsberg, Tanya Griffith, Veronica Fitzpatrick.