Women's Rugby World Cup
Women's World Cup set to take centre stage
July 29, 2014
Let the show begin ... © International Rugby Board
The 12 teams taking part in the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup took part in a photocall in Paris followed by a media session to formally launch the event.
Much of the media attention centred on New Zealand, the defending champions, and their captain Fiao'o Faamausili said she was aware of the high expectations back home. "There's definitely pressure there but it's how we deal with it. We've told the girls not to think about what's happened in the past, it's about what happens now. We are taking each match as it comes and just enjoying it."
England, the beaten finalists in 2010, are quietly confident, and their captain Katy McLean said the side was prepared. "You can't help but look back to something like 2010 which was massive for the women's game but obviously the result wasn't ideal for us. That was really tough but four years later you have to move on, you learn lessons, you play more rugby and get better."
IRB boss Brett Gosper said he believed the tournament, which starts on Friday, would be a boost for the women's game. "We know that [it] is gaining popularity. It's grown two or three times since the last World Cup four years ago. There is a raised interest and the visibility is huge.
"It also means that it finds its way into school curricula around the world which is very important because you find it in physical education classes, it gives it an acceptability and it means that it's being sampled by students who wouldn't usually sample it. We're really looking forward to this event."
The competition, which runs until August 17, will be broadcast to a record number of countries.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd