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Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – Teams Guide for Pools A, B, and C as Red Roses seek glory


France’s Jessy Tremouliere, England’s Emily Scaratt, and New Zealand’s Ruahei Demant will likely prove key players at the World Cup

From red-hot favourites England in Pool C, to hosts and five-time winners New Zealand in Pool A, cast your eye over all the sides ahead of kick off in the Women’s Rugby World Cup with our Teams Guide…

Pool A – New Zealand

Head coach: Wayne Smith

Co-Captains: Ruahei Demant, fly-half, Kennedy Simon, Back-row

Wayne Smith, All Blacks assistant coach between 2004-2011 and 2015-2017, took over as Black Ferns head coach this year

Wayne Smith, All Blacks assistant coach between 2004-2011 and 2015-2017, took over as Black Ferns head coach this year

Previous best: Five-time Winners (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2017)

Prospects: The most successful women’s side in history and hosts for this tournament. In any other World Cup year before now, the Black Ferns would be favourites. Yet, since the last Rugby World Cup final in 2017, New Zealand have been beaten four times by France and twice by England, losing four on the trot – twice vs France, twice vs England – last November. It would be a surprise if they turned things around to win it.

Five-time World Cup winners, New Zealand's Black Ferns are the reigning world champions, having beaten England 41-32 in the 2017 final in Belfast

Five-time World Cup winners, New Zealand’s Black Ferns are the reigning world champions, having beaten England 41-32 in the 2017 final in Belfast

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sat Oct 8, Australia vs New Zealand (7.15am, Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 16, Wales vs New Zealand (3.15am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)
  • Sat Oct 22, New Zealand vs Scotland (4.45am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Squad:

Backs: Ariana Bayler (Scrum-half), Sylvia Brunt (Centre), Kendra Cocksedge (Scrum-half), Ruahei Demant (Fly-half), Amy du Plessis (Centre), Theresa Fitzpatrick (Centre), Stacey Fluhler (Wing), Renee Holmes (Full-back), Ayesha Leti-I’iga (Wing), Arihiana ino-Tauhinu (Scrum-half), Hazel Tubic (Fly-half), Ruby Tui (Wing), Renee Wickliffe (Wing), Portia Woodman (Wing).

Forwards: Alana Bremner (Back-row), Chelsea Bremner (Lock), Luka Connor (Hooker), Natalie Delamere (Hooker), Sarah Hirini (Back-row), Tanya Kalounivale (Prop), Phillipa Love (Prop), Charmaine McMenamin (Back-row), Liana Mikaele-Tu’u (Back-row), Krystal Murray (Prop), Joanah Ngan-Woo (Lock), Georgia Ponsonby (Hooker), Kendra Reynolds (Back-row), Maiakawanakaulani Roos (Lock), Amy Rule (Prop), Kennedy Simon (Back-row), Awhina Tangen-Wainohu (Prop), Santo Taumata (Prop).

Pool A – Australia

Head coach: Jay Tregonning

Captain: Shannon Parry, Back-row

Previous best: Third (2010)

Shannon Parry will captain the Australia squad at the World Cup

Shannon Parry will captain the Australia squad at the World Cup

Prospects: A thoroughly inconsistent outfit, Australia have never beaten New Zealand, and have lost to their neighbours some 19 times, while they have never beaten England or Canada before either, and their sole victory over France came back in 2010. They don’t possess the quality or power of the top sides.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sat Oct 8, Australia vs New Zealand (7.15am, Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Sat Oct 15, Scotland vs Australia (3am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sat Oct 22, Australia vs Wales (2.15am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Squad:

Backs: Iliseva Batibasaga (Scrum-half), Lori Cramer (Full-back), Georgina Friedrichs (Centre), Arabella McKenzie (Fly-half/Full-back), Layne Morgan (Scrum-half), Mahalia Murphy (Centre), Siokapesi Palu (Centre), Pauline Piliae-Rasabale (Centre), Trilleen Poe (Fly-half), Cecilia Smith (Wing), Maya Stewart (Wing), Bienne Terita (Wing), Sharni Williams (Centre), Ivania Wong (Wing).

Forwards: Emily Chancellor (Back-row), Bree-Anna Cheatham (Prop), Piper Duck (No 8), Grace Hamilton (Back-row), Eva Karpani (Prop), Grace Kemp (Back-row), Atasi Lafai (Lock), Kaitlan Leaney (Lock), Michaela Leonard (Lock), Ashley sters (Hooker), Tania Naden (Hooker), Sera Naiqama (Lock), Bridie O’Gorman (Prop), Shannon Parry (Back-row), Liz Patu (Prop), Emily Robinson (Prop), Madison Schuck (Prop), Adiana Talakai (Hooker).

Pool A – Wales

Head coach: Ioan Cunningham

Captain: Siwan Lillicrap, Second row

Previous best: Fourth (1994)

Second row Siwan Lillicrap is captain of Wales, who handed out 12 full-time contracts for the first time in their history this year

Second row Siwan Lillicrap is captain of Wales, who handed out 12 full-time contracts for the first time in their history this year

Prospects: Wales enter into this World Cup with professional contracts in their ranks for the very first time. 2022 proved a landmark year in Welsh rugby, with 12 full-time contracts handed out by the WRU in January, alongside semi-professional contracts too. Improvements in fitness showed during the most-recent Six Nations, but Wales are still a long way off competing at the top. With some luck, they could possibly make a semi-final here though.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sun Oct 9, Wales vs Scotland (5.45am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sun Oct 16, Wales vs New Zealand (3.15am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)
  • Sat Oct 22, Australia vs Wales (2.15am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Squad:

Backs: Keira Bevan (Scrum-half), Lleucu George (Centre), Hannah Jones (Centre), Jasmine Joyce (Wing), Kerin Lake (Centre), Ffion Lewis (Scrum-half), Lisa Neumann (Wing), Lowri Norkett (Centre), Kayleigh Powell (Full-back), Elinor Snowsill (Centre), Niamh Terry (Fly-half), Meg Webb (Centre), Robyn Wilkins (Fly-half), Carys Williams-Morris (Centre).

Forwards: Alisha Butchers (Back-row), Alex Callender (Back-row), Gwen Crabb (Lock), Georgia Evans (Lock), Kat Evans (Hooker/Flanker), Abbie Fleming (Back-row), Cerys Hale (Prop), Sioned Harries (Back-row), Cara Hope (Prop), Natalia John (Lock), Kelsey Jones (Hooker), Bethan Lewis (Back-row), Siwan Lillicrap (Back-row), Carys Phillips (Hooker), Gwenllian Pyrs (Prop), Donna Rose (Prop), Caryl Thomas (Prop), Sisilia Tuipulotu (Lock).

Pool A – Scotland

Head coach: Bryan Easson

Captain: Rachel Malcolm, Back-row

Previous best: Fifth (1994)

Scotland will be led by captain Rachel Malcolm, after the nation failed to qualify for the last two World Cups

Scotland will be led by captain Rachel Malcolm, after the nation failed to qualify for the last two World Cups

Prospects: Having missed out in 2014 and 2017, Scotland have qualified for their first World Cup since 2010, edging Ireland to a play-off vs Colombia in Dubai, which they duly won. Making a quarter-final would be a big surprise.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sun Oct 9, Wales vs Scotland (5.45am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sat Oct 15, Scotland vs Australia (3am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sat Oct 22, New Zealand vs Scotland (4.45am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Squad:

Backs: Shona Campbell (Wing), Megan Gaffney (Wing), Coreen Grant (Centre), Sarah Law (Fly-half), Rhona Lloyd (Wing), Caity Mattinson (Scrum-half), Mairi McDonald (Scrum-half), Liz Musgrove (Wing), Helen Nelson (Fly-half), Emma Orr (Centre), Chloe Rollie (Full-back), Eilidh Sinclair (Full-back), Hannah Smith (Centre), Meryl Smith (Centre), Lisa Thomson (Centre), Evie Wills (Centre).

Forwards: Leah Bartlett (Prop), Christine Belisle (Prop), Sarah Bonar (Lock), Elliann Clarke (Prop), Katie Dougan (Prop), Ellis Martin (Hooker), Jade Konkel-Roberts (Back-row), Rachel Malcolm (Back-row), Rachel McLachlan (Back-row), Louise McMillan (Lock), Lyndsay O’Donnell (Lock), Lana Skeldon (Hooker), Jodie Rettie (Hooker), Emma Wassell (Lock), Molly Wright (Hooker), Anne Young (Prop).

Pool B – Canada

Head coach: Kevin Rouet

Captain: Sophie de Goede, No 8

Previous best: Runners-up (2014)

Sophie de Goede, a place-kicking No 8, is captain of Canada

Sophie de Goede, a place-kicking No 8, is captain of Canada

Prospects: A far tougher opposition in the women’s game than their counterparts are in men’s competition, Canada have regularly gone far in World Cups, appearing in four semi-finals and a final in their history. They will be seeking to top Pool B, and with that get a kind quarter-final draw to make another semi-final.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sun Oct 9, Japan vs Canada (3.15am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sun Oct 16, Italy vs Canada (12.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 23, Canada vs USA (3.15am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)

Squad:

Backs: Elissa Alarie (Full-back), Alysha Corrigan (Full-back), Paige Farries (Centre), Maddy Grant (Wing), Anaїs Holly (Fly-half), Sara Kaljuvee (Centre), Sarah-Maude Lachance (Wing), Brianna Miller (Scrum-half), Justine Pelletier (Scrum-half), Taylor Perry (Fly-half), Sabrina Poulin (Wing), Julia Schell (Fly-half), Alexandra Tessier (Fly-half/Centre), Marie Thibault (Centre).

Forwards: Tyson Beukeboom (Lock), Gillian Boag (Hooker), Sophie de Goede (No 8), Olivia DeMerchant (Prop), Alex Ellis (Prop), Fabiola Forteza (Back-row), Ngalula Fuamba (Lock), Courtney Holtkamp (Lock), McKinley Hunt (Lock), Brittany Kassil (Prop), DaLeaka Menin (Prop), Mikiela Nelson (Prop), Karen Paquin (Back-row), Laura Russell (Hooker), Gabrielle Senft (Back-row), Sara Svoboda (Back-row), Emma Taylor (Lock), Emily Tuttosi (Hooker).

Pool B – Italy

Head coach: Andrea Di Giandomenico

Captain: Elisa Giordano, Back-row

Previous best: 8th (1991)

Prospects: Appearing in just the fourth World Cup in their history, Italy are currently ranked fifth in the world such has been their results and performances of recent times. They remain well below the quality of England, New Zealand, Canada and France though. Will fancy themselves to book a quarter-final place out of this pool.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sun Oct 9, USA vs Italy (12.45am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sun Oct 16, Italy vs Canada (12.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 23, Japan vs Italy (12.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)

Squad:

Backs: Sara Barattin (Scrum-half), Beatrice Capomaggi (Centre), Alyssa D’Inca (Centre), Manuela Furlan (Full-back), Francesca Granzotto (Wing), Veronica Madia (Fly-half), Maria Magatti (Wing), Aura Muzzo (Wing), Vittoria Ostuni Minuzzi (Wing), Beatrice Rigoni (Centre), Sofia Rolfi (Wing), Michela Sillari (Centre), Sofia Stefan (Scrum-half), Emma Stevanin (Fly-half).

Forwards: Ilaria Arrighetti (Back-row), Francesca Barro (Prop), Melissa Bettoni (Hooker), Giordana Duca (Lock), Valeria Fedrighi (Lock), Giada Franco (Back-row), Lucia Gai (Prop), Elisa Giordano (Back-row), Isabella Locatelli (Lock), Gaia Maris (Prop), Michela Merlo (Prop), Sara Seye (Prop), Francesca Sgorbini (Back-row), Emanuela Stecca (Prop), Sara Tounesi (Prop), Silvia Turani (Prop), Vittoria Vecchini (Hooker), Beatrice Veronese (Back-row).

Pool B – USA

Head coach: Rob Cain

Captain: Kate Zackary, Back-row

Previous best: Winners (1991)

Prospects: Previous winners back in 1991, the USA have historically been one of the top sides at the World Cup, making two further finals (1994, 1998) and a semi-final in 2017. Recent years has really seen them struggle for form, however, with them losing eight of their last nine to France, Canada (three Tests), Ireland, New Zealand and England (twice) – suffering a humiliating 89-0 loss to the Red Roses last November.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sun Oct 9, USA vs Italy (0.45am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sat Oct 15, USA vs Japan (5.30am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sun Oct 23, Canada vs USA (3.15am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)

Squad:

Backs: Meya Bizer (Full-back), Gabby Cantorna (Fly-half), Lotte Clapp (Wing), Jennine Detiveaux (Wing), Tess Feury (Full-back), Megan Foster (Fly-half), Eti Haungatau (Centre), McKenzie Hawkins (Fly-half), Katana Howard (Centre), Bridget Kahele (Scrum-half), Alev Kelter (Centre/Full-back), Olivia Ortiz (Scrum-half), Carly Waters (Scrum-half).

Forwards: Evelyn Ashenbrucker (Lock), Catie Benson (Prop), Elizabeth Cairns (Back-row), Jett Hayward (Hooker), Charli Jacoby (Prop), Nick James (Prop), Erica Jarrell (Prop), Kathryn Johnson (Back-row), Rachel Johnson (Back-row), Joanna Kitlinksi (Hooker), Jenny Kronish (Lock), Maya Learned (Prop), Jordan Matyas (Lock), Kathryn Treder (Hooker), Georgie Perris-Redding (Back-row), Hope Rogers (Prop), Kristine Sommer (Lock), Hallie Taufoou (Lock), Kate Zackary (Back-row).

Pool B – Japan

Head coach: Lesley McKenzie

Captain: Saki Minami, Prop

Previous best: 8th (1994)

Prospects: Featuring in just their second World Cup since 2002, Japan are an emerging side in the women’s game and in 2022 picked up victories over Australia and Fiji, having pushed Italy, Scotland and Ireland close in recent years. A tough pool would see anything other than elimination as a huge shock.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sun Oct 9, Japan vs Canada (3.15am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sat Oct 15, USA vs Japan (5.30am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sun Oct 23, Japan vs Italy (0.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)

Squad:

Backs: Megumi Abe (Scrum-half), Ria Anoku (Full-back), Mana Furuta (Centre), Ai Hirayama (Full-back), Komachi Imakugi (Fly-half), Yuki Ito (Wing), Rinka Matsuda (Wing), Hinano Nagura (Wing), Shione Nakayama (Centre), Ayasa Otsuka (Fly-half), Ayaka Suzuki (Centre), Moe Tsukui (Scrum-half), Minori Yamamoto (Centre).

Forwards: Kyoko Hosokawa (Back-row), Sachiko Kato (Prop), Masami Kawamura (Lock), Wako Kitano (Prop), Hinata Komaki (Prop), Sakurako Korai (Back-row), Makoto Lavemai (Prop), Saki Minami (Prop), Ayano Nagai (Back-row), Iroha Nagata (Back-row), Nijiho Nagata (Hooker), Yuka Sadaka (Prop), Seina Saito (Back-row), Yuna Sato (Lock), Misaki Suzuki (Back-row), Maki Takano (Lock), Kie Tamai (Lock), Kotomi Taniguchi (Hooker), Otoka Yoshimura (Lock).

Pool C – England

Head coach: Simon Middleton

Captain: Sarah Hunter, No 8

Previous best: Two-time winners (1994, 2014)

Prospects: The reddest of red-hot favourites. England head into this World Cup off the back of a sensational world-record 25 consecutive Test victories. They have not tasted defeat since July 2019, and no side has come within 12 points of England this calendar year. They have beaten the other top nations France (10 consecutive wins), New Zealand (two comprehensive wins) and Canada within the run, as well as pretty much everyone else, and by dominant scorelines too. Anything less than World Cup glory would be hugely disappointing.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sat Oct 8, Fiji v England (4.45am, Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Sat Oct 15, France v England (8am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sun Oct 23, England v South Africa (5.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)

Squad:

Backs: Holly Aitchison (Centre), Jess Breach (Wing), Abby Dow (Wing), Zoe Harrison (Fly-half), Tatyana Heard (Centre), Leanne Infante (Scrum-half), Ellie Kildunne (Full-back), Claudia MacDonald (Scrum-half), Sarah McKenna (Full-back), Lucy Packer (Scrum-half), Helena Rowland (Fly-half), Emily Scarratt (Centre), Lydia Thompson (Wing).

Forwards: Zoe Aldcroft (Lock), Sarah Bern (Prop), Hannah Botterman (Prop), Shaunagh Brown (Prop), Poppy Cleall (Back-row), Amy Cokayne (Hooker), Vickii Cornborough (Prop), Lark Davies (Hooker), Rosie Galligan (Lock), Sarah Hunter (Back-row), Sadia Kabeya (Back-row), Laura Keates (Prop), Alex Matthews (Back-row), Maud Muir (Prop), Cath O’Donnell (Lock), Marlie Packer (Back-row), Connie Powell (Hooker), Morwenna Talling (Lock), Abbie Ward (Lock).

Pool C – France

Head coach: Thomas Darracq

Captain: Gaelle Hermet

Previous best: Third (1991, 1994, 2002, 2006, 2014, 2017)

Prospects: If there is to be a side to win this World Cup who have never lifted it before, then it will be France. Les Bleus have never made a final in their history, but have fallen at the semi-final stage a remarkable six times, including at the last four tournaments in a row. Six Nations Grand Slam winners in 2018, France were always a tough match for England, but have fallen off the pace over the last few years. They have done to such an extent they have lost 10 on the bounce to the Red Roses. They have beaten New Zealand regularly themselves, however, and will be in the hunt for the title.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sat Oct 8, South Africa vs France (2.15am, Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Sat Oct 15, France vs England (8am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)
  • Sat Oct 22, France vs Fiji (7.15am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Squad:

Backs: Emilie Boulard (Full-back), Pauline Bourdon (Scrum-half), Alexandra Chambon (Scrum-half), Caroline Drouin (Fly-half), Maelle Filopon (Centre), Joanna Grisez (Wing), Chloe Jquet (Centre/Full-back), Melissande Llorens (Wing), Marine Menager (Wing), Lina Queyroi (Scrum-half), Laure Sansus (Scrum-half), Jessy Tremouliere (Full-back), Gabrielle Vernier (Centre).

Forwards: Julie Annery (Back-row), Rose Bernadou (Prop), Yllana Brosseau (Prop), Annaelle Deshaye (Prop), Célia Domain (Prop), Charlotte Escudero (Back-row), Madoussou Fall (Lock), Manae Feleu (Lock), Celine Ferer (Lock), Emeline Gros (Back-row), Gaelle Hermet (Back-row), Clara Joyeux (Prop), Assia Khalfaoui (Prop), Coco Lindelauf (Prop), Marjorie Mayans (Back-row), Romane Menager (No 8), Safi N’Diaye (Lock), Agathe Sochat (Hooker), Laure Touye (Hooker).

Pool C – South Africa

Head coach: Stanley Raubenheimer

Captain: Nolusindiso Booi, Second row

Previous best: 10th (2010, 2014)

Prospects: Unlike their male counterparts, South Africa’s women’s side have struggled historically at the World Cup. They didn’t even qualify four years ago, and have only been playing other top-tier nations since the mid-2000s. Wins have been hard to come by, and heavy defeats to England and France are expected.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sat Oct 8, South Africa vs France (2.15am, Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 16, Fiji vs South Africa (5.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 23, England vs South Africa (5.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)

Squad:

Backs: Jakkie Cilliers (Centre), Libbie se van Rensburg (Fly-half), Zenay Jordaan (Fly-half), Tayla Kinsey (Scrum-half), Nomawethu Mabenge (Wing), Zintle Mpupha (Centre), Simamkele Namba (Wing), Aphiwe Ngwevu (Centre), Rumandi Potgieter (Scrum-half), Chuma Qawe (Wing), Chumisa Qawe (Centre), Nadine Roos (Wing), Unam Tose (Scrum-half), Eloise Webb (Wing).

Forwards: Nolusindiso Booi (Lock), Roseline Botes (Hooker), Sanelisiwe Charlie (Prop), Lusanda Dumke (Back-row), Micke Gunter (Hooker), Lindelwa Gwala (Hooker), Aseza Hele (Back-row), Catha Jacobs (Lock), Babalwa Latsha (Prop), Lerato Makua (Lock), Nompumelelo Mathe (Lock), Monica Mazibukwana (Prop), Sinazo Mcatshulwa (Back-row), Rights Mkhari (Back-row), Azisa Mkiva (Prop), Yonela Ngxingolo (Prop), Asithandile Ntoyanto (Prop), Sizophila Solontsi (Back-row).

Pool C – Fiji

Head coach: Senirusi Seruvakula

Captain: Sereima Leweniqila, Back-row

Previous best: First appearance (2022)

Prospects: The only tournament debutants, Fiji have never faced any of the Six Nations countries in their history, nor have they played New Zealand or USA before. Their women’s Sevens side picked up bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, though, and several of those players have been drafted into the World Cup squad. They come in largely as an unknown quantity.

Fixtures (All times GMT):

  • Sat Oct 8, Fiji vs England (4.45am, Eden Park, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 16, Fiji vs South Africa (5.45am, Waitakere Stadium, Auckland)
  • Sun Oct 23, France vs Fiji (7.15am, Northland Events Centre, Whangarei)

Squad:

Backs: Lavena Cavuru (Scrum-half), Ilisapeci Delaiwau (Wing), Sesenieli Donu (Utility back), Raijieli Laqeretabua (Centre), Kolora Lomani (Wing), Melaia Matanatabu (Centre), Vitalina Naikore (Wing), Ana Maria Naimasi (Utility back), Alowesi Nakoci (Utility back), Roela Radiniyavuni (Full-back), Timaima Ravisa (Utility back), Merewalesi Rokouono (Fly-half), Ana Maria Roqica (Scrum-half), Akasnisi Sokoiwasa (Wing), Talei Wilson (Utility back)

Forwards: Ema Adivitaloga (Back-row), Raijieli Daveua (Utility forward), Sereima Leweniqila (Back-row), Vika Matarugu (Prop), Rusila Nagasau (Utility forward), Karalaini Naisewa (Back-row), Merevesi Ofakimalino (Back-row), Siteri Rasolea (Prop), Akosita Ravato (Back-row), Joma Rubuti (Prop), Jiowana Sauto (Hooker), Asinate Serevi (Lock), Bitila Tawake (Utility forward), Bulou Vasuturaga (Prop), Iris Verebalavu (Hooker), Mereoni Vonosere (Prop), Sulita Waisega (Lock)


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