Belfast’s Kingspan Stadium moves onto global stage with World Cup announcement

At the announcement of the Women's Rugby World Cup Ireland 2019 are Finance Minister Arlene Foster MLA, Ireland Women's rugby player Nora Stapleton, Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan and Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Car�l N� Chuil�n MLA, at Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast
At the announcement of the Women's Rugby World Cup Ireland 2019 are Finance Minister Arlene Foster MLA, Ireland Women's rugby player Nora Stapleton, Ulster Rugby CEO Shane Logan and Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure, Car�l N� Chuil�n MLA, at Kingspan Stadium, Ravenhill Park, Belfast

The cream of the world’s women rugby talent will converge on Belfast in 2017 when the Women’s World Cup Rugby final stages are held at the Kingspan Stadium.

It was confirmed on Wednesday that Ireland have won the bid to host the finals.

In an all-Ireland approach, Dublin’s University College will stage the pool stages.

The festival will then move North to Belfast where the classification play-offs will be played at Queen’s University’s sport complex at Upper Malone.

The semi-finals and final will be staged at the Kingspan Stadium, home of Ulster Rugby.

The former Ravenhill Park ground was opened just over a year ago after major redevelopment and Ulster Rugby CEO, Shane Logan, said things were starting to fall strongly in their favour since deciding to redevelop.

“The Guinness PRO12 final will be held here at the end of the month and today’s announcement takes us on to the world stage.

“I think there were several things which weighed heavily in our favour to get the latter stages.

“The fact that we regularly sell it out, means there is a real rugby appetite which is hugely important.

“The atmosphere in the ground keeps all the best of the old Ravenhill.

“We have designed it to have the edges of the terrace as close as possible to the pitch that allows, the roof is designed to thrown the noise up and down and out on to the pitch, so with our noise modelling we have tried to do our best to create the best atmosphere.

“We also have two complete sets of changing rooms which means we can hold three games each day comfortably with minimal turn around time, minimum disruption for the crowd and it keeps the atmosphere going,” said Logan.

IRFU Women’s Rugby Ambassador, Fiona Coghlan said:

“I am delighted to be an ambassador to bring one of the world’s premier women’s sporting events to Ireland.

“The development and profile of women’s sport has been fantastic in recent years and it will be a great opportunity for Ireland to showcase sport and to get more women and girls to consider taking up a team sport.”

Irish Women’s Rugby Captain, Niamh Briggs said: “It is great news to hear Ireland has been successful in its bid to host the 2017 Women’s Rugby Worlds Cup.

“It is an honour to represent your country in a World Cup, and the idea of representing your county on home turf is unbelievable.”

Women’s head coach, Tom Tierney, said:

“It is huge boost for our sport that Ireland has been selected by World Rugby to host such a prestigious event and it will be a privilege for all of us to be involved.

“We will now keep building our team and squad as we look forward to leading an Irish team out on home soil in rugby’s showpiece tournament for women’s rugby.”

Finance minister, Arlene Foster said: “I think it is a really good platform to show that we can host an event of this nature.

“In the same way we did for the golf in terms of the Irish Open and now we have The Open coming, and back on the rota here.”

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín added: “The news is also a boost for women’s sport and for women’s rugby in particular. The game has continued to grow at a remarkable rate at all levels across Ireland. The recent Six Nations win has shown that the Ireland Women’s team can compete with the best in the world.”