Ireland to host 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup

Kingspan Stadium will host the World Cup final in 2017
Kingspan Stadium will host the World Cup final in 2017

Ireland has been selected to stage the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup with the final at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast.

University College Dublin is scheduled to host the pool stages before the August tournament moves to Belfast.

Queen's University Sport and Kingspan Stadium will stage the semi-finals with the decider at the home of Ulster.

"We are delighted with the announcement and believe Ireland can deliver the best Women's World Cup to date," IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said.

He added: "We hope that the growing interest in women's rugby in Ireland, world class facilities such as UCD, Queen's University Sport, Kingspan Stadium and our internationally recognised reputation for being one of the world's most welcoming nations, will make this an exceptional event for the entire island."

England won the World Cup in 2014, beating Canada in a thrilling final at Stade Jean Bouin in Paris.

England captain Katy McLean lifts the trophy after the 2014 World Cup triumph
England captain Katy McLean lifts the World Cup trophy after winning the tournament last year

The tournament set new records for crowds and television audiences with close to three million viewers in France alone tuning in to watch the tournament at its peak.

It is being brought forward by one year to "maximise synergy" with the Olympic Games and Rugby World Cup Sevens cycles for top female players.

"The Women's Rugby World Cup continues to go from strength to strength, proving a hit with fans, broadcasters and sponsors around the globe, with its compelling, competitive action and global profile," World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said.

"With impressive results on and off the field, the IRFU is a leader in driving forward the promotion and development of women's rugby and the union's passion, dedication and expertise in women's rugby was reflected in impressive, forward thinking.

"The awarding of the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup to Ireland is great news for teams and fans as the sport continues to reach out and inspire new participants in our great game.

"I am sure that Dublin and Belfast will prove to be popular destinations."

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