With Ireland 2017 promising to be the most competitive tournament to date, the 12 participating teams have left no stone unturned in their preparations over the last weeks and months.

England arrived in Ireland as the team to beat, being not only the defending champions and the only full-time professional squad, but also now the number one side in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings.

However, four-time champions New Zealand, 2014 runners-up Canada, perennial semi-finalists France and host nation Ireland are among the teams with title aspirations of their own and no team can afford to be off their game even a little with only the three pool winners guaranteed a place in the semi-finals at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on 22 August.



The action gets underway at 14:00 local time (GMT +1) with the Pool B encounter between England and Spain, with UCD Bowl also the venue for USA’s meeting with Italy and hosts Ireland against Australia. New Zealand and Wales will kick-off proceedings at 14:45 at Billings Park with Canada then taking on tournament debutants Hong Kong before France meet Japan.