With only 11 months to go until 12 nations converge on Paris for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014, a number of the leading teams will be in action in November as they look to step up preparations for the showpiece event.
England, runners-up at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 on home soil, will welcome familiar foes Canada and France to London for a Test series coach Gary Street has labelled “really exciting” and one he will hope will see his charges return to winning ways.
That is after a season which saw England surrender the Six Nations title, suffer a 3-0 series whitewash against the world champion Black Ferns in New Zealand and reach the final of the Women’s Nations Cup, losing twice to Canada.
France will be their first opponents on 9 November as part of a double header at Twickenham, the Red Roses taking to the pitch after England take on Argentina in a match that will be televised live on Sky Sports.
England will be keen to avenge the 30-20 loss they suffered against France at Twickenham during the Six Nations, the first time the Red Roses had tasted defeat at the home of English rugby.
Four days later, England will face Canada at Twickenham Stoop, a venue they last played at in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2010 final when a crowd of more than 13,000 saw them lose 13-10 to defending champions New Zealand.
“This is a really exciting series and we are looking forward to returning to both Twickenham and the Stoop – two world-class venues for two world-class fixtures,” admitted Street.
“Twickenham has been a good hunting ground for us in the past, and we are always well supported, whilst at the Stoop the last time we played there was in the WRWC final. Albeit the result didn’t go our way that day, the Stoop was a fantastic venue for that clash and provided a tremendous atmosphere. I am sure when we take on Canada on November 13th it will be no different.
“We will be heading into this series with some good camp time with the squad in the bag. That will certainly aid us as we look to reverse the defeats France and Canada inflicted on us last season. There’s no doubt these are going to be tough games; France have invested a lot into their programme of late and Canada are a side constantly improving.”
France and Canada will arrive on English soil after completing a two-Test series with matches in Pontarlier on 2 November and Amnéville three days later.
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 will take place from 1-17 August with pool matches at the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR) headquarters in Marcoussis and Marcoussis Rugby Club, with Stade Jean Bouin in the French capital hosting the semi-finals and final.
The 12 teams are known all know after Kazakhstan and South Africa claimed the Asian and African places respectively last weekend. They will join New Zealand, England, Australia, France, Canada, USA, Ireland, Wales, Spain and Samoa in the showpiece event.