We bring you some reaction to the Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 pool allocation draw, which took place in Paris on Wednesday.
POOL A (England, Canada, Spain, Samoa)
England coach Gary Street: “This is certainly going to be an interesting pool for us. We know that Canada will offer a hugely physical challenge and they have enjoyed a lot of success recently, culminating in a Nations Cup win in July. It is also going to add quite a bit of spice to our Test match against them on November 13th at The Stoop.
“Samoa are a relatively unknown side to us but what we do know is that they have a successful Sevens programme and they have got some talented strong players. Spain, meanwhile, are always a dogged side and we have enjoyed some very close games against them in the European Cup and the Six Nations when they were in it. Spain are certainly not a side to take lightly.
“The WRWC draw has certainly made next year’s tournament come alive now. We are currently in camp preparing for our autumn international series against France and Canada and this news has definitely added another dimension to our training. It’s going to be an exciting nine months.”
AUDIO: Listen to Danielle Waterman's reaction to England's draw and the other two pools >>
Spain coach Inés Etxegibel: “The team is looking forward to playing at France 2014. The training is going to be very hard and after learning our opponents we will have more motivation to train from now to August.
“We have two physical teams in Canada and Samoa, while England that is the strongest rival of the group. The English players haven’t left the podium in the last World Cups. Canada has a plus as their players are very dynamic and the Samoans will be very strong but unknown in their preparation. Just as when they arrived at the qualifier played in Madrid, and at the end they qualified with us.”
Canada player Ghislaine Landry: “England is always a tough team, recently we've had a lot of rivalry with them on the Sevens circuit and so to have them in our pool for the World Cup is good and it is challenging as well. You are going to have to play the top teams at some point in the tournament. Spain and Smaoa, I have not played either of those teams in the Fifteens games, I am sure they are preparing just as hard as we are so I imagine both those will be tough fights as well.”
AUDIO: Ghislaine Landry >>
POOL B (New Zealand, USA, Ireland, Kazakhstan)
Ireland coach Philip Doyle: "We are familiar with Kazakhstan and the USA from the last time and both teams present a really physical challenge. We beat USA in the pool stages but they came back hard at us in the play-offs and I expect nothing less this time around. In terms of New Zealand, we are delighted to have drawn them as we have not faced them before and we will relish the chance to play them."
Ireland captain Fiona Coughlan: "The Black Ferns are the only team ranked above us in the world that we haven't played so it's a very exciting prospect to test ourselves against the world champions. With just the top 12 teams in the world qualifying for the World Cup the draw was always going to be tough no matter what pool you end up in.”
POOL C (Australia, France, Wales, South Africa)
Australia coach Paul Verrell: “We were lucky, we knew we weren’t going to put in their (England and New Zealand) pool given our third-place finish in the last World Cup.
“Wales and South Africa were in our pool in 2010 and we were able to beat both of them last time. France may be a bit tougher this time around and being the home nation, I’m expecting they’ll be stronger than they have been previously. South Africa had a fair win to qualify for this World Cup. But all sides have moved on a lot with their programmes since 2010. It will be interesting to see where they sit in the next six months and get some footage of the games so we can prepare.”
Wales coach Rhys Edwards: "I'm happy to have avoided England and New Zealand because they are obviously the top two teams in the world at the moment. The draw has been a long time coming so it's nice to know now who we are playing. Up until this point everything has been hypothetical but now we can give France, South Africa and Australia our full attention.
"France at home is going to be a huge challenge but we will be looking to next year's Six Nations as a springboard for the World Cup. We are in a healthy position at the moment as we have genuine competition for places right across the team so there are no guaranteed starts – that has been our downfall in the past.”
AUDIO: Listen to France captain Marie-Alice Yahe's thoughts on the draw (en francais)
South Africa captain Mandisa Williams: “There will never be an easy draw at a World Cup, so we are satisfied with our pool, although we know it is going to be a challenging competition. We defeated Wales in the round-robin stages of the last World Cup, but just as have we have developed as a team, so have all the other sides participating in the spectacle, so we will not take anything for granted.
“We have certainly developed as a team over the last few years and the fact that we have been exposed to more international rugby in the 15-a-side and Sevens codes has assisted in that regard. But the hard work starts now. It is up to us to grow as a unit and be in the best possible form for the World Cup. Fortunately we have experienced senior players and talented youngsters coming through, so we have to make the most of this when we begin our preparations.”