Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) has announced the pools for Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 in England.
The premier 15-aside tournament in the Women's Game, which will be played from August 20 to September 5, will feature three pools of four teams with defending champions New Zealand, hosts and 2006 runners-up England and 2006 bronze medallists France all ranked top seeds in their pool.
The unprecedented qualification process, which saw 16 teams compete for the six places available outside the automatically qualified teams, was completed when Kazakhstan defeated Japan 43-5 to claim a place in Pool B, while Sweden join Pool C in their first appearance on the Women's Rugby World Cup stage since 1998.
Pool A: New Zealand, Wales, Australia, South Africa
Pool B: England, USA, Ireland, Kazakhstan
Pool C: France, Canada, Scotland, Sweden
New Zealand, England, France, Canada, USA and South Africa all qualified directly, with Wales and Ireland qualifying through the Six Nations, Sweden and Scotland from the European qualifiers in May, Australia as the Oceania qualifier and Kazakhstan from Asia.
Further Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 announcements, including format and match schedule, broadcast and the legacy programme will be made at the official tournament launch on Monday, November 23.
The launch will be held in the Shakespeare Room, South Stand, Twickenham. Attendees include Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset, Martyn Thomas, Chairman of the RFU Management Board, and Gerry Sutcliffe MP, Minister for Sport.
Players from six of the participating nations will also attend the launch. England captain Catherine Spencer and her New Zealand counterpart Victoria Heighway will be joined by Canada's Mandy Marchuk, Non Evans of Wales, Ireland's Joy Neville and Sarah Gill of Scotland.