There was excitement in Dublin and Belfast today when it was announced Ireland had been successful in their bid to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2017.
The groups stages will be held at University College, Dublin, with the climax of the tournament being staged in Belfast.
Play-offs would be staged at Queen’s University’s sport complex, while the home of Ulster Rugby, the Kingspan Stadium, would host the semi-finals and final’s day.
With Ireland having already put a bid in for the men’s Rugby World Cup 2023, the hosting of the women’s event will be watched closely and could prove a factor in the final decision by World Rugby’s voting members.
Rugby is currently on the crest of a wave in Ireland with both the men and women having won their respective Six Nations Championships this year, both retaining the titles.
Ireland women reached the semi-finals of the last World Cup and the National men’s team are among those being tipped to reach a semi-final in England later this year.
Stormont Ministers Arlene Foster (finance) and Carál Ní Chuilín (sport) celebrated the announcement in Belfast with Ulster Rugby chief executive officer, Shane Logan, and Irish women’s star, Nora Stapleton.
Stapleton said: “To play in a world cup final in your own country would be everybody’s dream. Being realistic we have a long way to go but we are super excited about it.
“For all players now and just not the ones in the current squad there will be a lot of girls looking at it thinking they could be involved as well so everybody is really stepping up a gear, preparation is going up and it’s getting more professional.”
FURTHER UPDATES TO FOLLOW ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT