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Womens Rugby World Cup 2014: Team guide & players to watch

Womens Rugby World Cup 2014: Team guide & players to watch
womens-rugby-world-cup-2014-team-guide--players-to-watch
The seventh Women's Rugby World Cup begins Dennis Rodman White Jersey in Paris on Friday, 1 August with defending champions New Zealand aiming to win a fifth consecutive title. England, perpetual bridesmaids it seems, have lost the last three finals, despite home advantage four years ago. The 2010 tournament was a huge success for the women's game but success again proved tantalisingly elusive for the Red Roses, beaten 13-10 in front of a capacity crowd at the Twickenham Stoop. Four years on, the semi-finals and final of the forthcoming tournament will be staged at the 20,000-capacity Stade Jean Bouin in central Paris, the home of Stade Francais rugby club. France Women have always attracted large, vociferous crowds and it is hoped the country's enthusiasm for the women's game will be reflected in the atmosphere, especially with the hosts in with a shot of the title. France, along with Ireland, the United States and Canada, all promise to make this World Cup more competitive than in recent years, with another New Zealand v England final far from a foregone conclusion. Officials would welcome a more unpredictable event at a time when the Sevens game is being given greater priority following its inclusion in the Rio 2016 Olympics. While there are no full-time professional 15-a-side women's players, many nations will be borrowing professionals from their new Sevens programmes to bolster their chances. The International Rugby Board recently brought forward the next Women's World Cup by a year to 2017, to avoid a clash with the 2018 Sevens World Cup - itself moved to avoid clashing with the Olympics. Hosting both in 2018 could have seen some players opting for the more lucrative Sevens and shunning the longer-form tournament. Amid this shifting rugby landscape, France 2014 is under pressure to improve on its predecessor and help cement the future growth of the game. Format: The same as in 2010: three pools of four teams. Teams are awarded four points for a win, two for a draw and none for a loss, unless it is by seven points or less, in which case they get a bonus point. Unlike the men's World Cup, the women's follows the example of domestic leagues such as the Aviva Premiership, and also awards bonus points for scoring four or more tries in a game. The three pool winners will progress to http://www.nbashoponline.us.com/team-usa/michael-jordan-jersey_c-882.htm the semi-finals, along with the second-placed team with the highest points tally. As the World Cup is a ranking tournament, all the countries will have play-off matches to be given a final position. Schedule: Every team will play on the same five match-days. Pool games will be on Friday 1 August, Tuesday 5 August and Saturday 9 August, with semi-finals and ranking matches on Wednesday 13 August. The final, and play-offs for the other positions from third to 12th, will be played on Sunday 17 August. Venues: All the pool games will be held at France's national rugby centre in Marcoussis, on the outskirts of Paris. The semis and the final will be played at the Stade Jean Bouin in central Paris. Tickets for the finals have been priced between 5 and 25 euros. World Cup history: After finishing fourth three times in a row from 1998, Canada lost to the USA in the fifth/sixth place play-off in 2010, but have stolen a match on their North American rivals in recent years. Player to watch: Centre Mandy Marchak is a solid veteran of the squad with two World Cups under her belt. The thought of Marchak and England's Emily Scarratt running into each other in the pool stage is an enticing one. Did you know? In 2012 the Canadian women produced a naked calendar to raise funds for the national team. Verdict: Canada should comfortably finish second in the group but will need to rack up some big scores to be in with a chance of nailing the last semi-final spot. World Cup history: Perpetual bridesmaids. England have lost the last three World Cup finals to New Zealand, and were also runners-up to the USA in the inaugural World Cup in 1991. They did reverse that result to win the trophy in 1994 though. Player to watch: It's hard to ignore Emily Scarratt, who often leaves a trail of defenders in her wake, playing at centre or full-back. Top points-scorer in this year's Six Nations, including four tries, the 24-year-old was a consistent threat with her running and huge right boot. Did you know? When back-rower Marlie Packer isn't tackling for England, she takes on the gas boilers of London in her day job as a plumbing and heating engineer. Verdict: England boast some of the most skilful and experienced XVs players in the world - 12 of their squad have 50-plus caps. But question marks hang over the Red Roses' recent form. Having appeared to http://www.steelersofficialauthentic.com/STEELERS-KION-WILSON-JERSEY peak in 2012, they suffered Six Nations defeats by Ireland and France, and a three-Test whitewash in New Zealand, in 2013 after a host of top players concentrated on Sevens instead. Six Nations runners-up this year, they could still find a higher level - and finally become the bride.

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