A bumper year for women’s rugby kicks off with the Six Nations Championship in just under a month’s time, and first up for England are holders France, who edged out the Red Roses in the final round last year to clinch the title. They then go on to face Wales, Italy, Scotland and lastly Ireland in Dublin. The sides last met only three months ago, with England earning a hard-fought two-point victory. They will be looking to repeat the win, while Ireland are sure to fancy their chances after an impressive display in the autumn.
Of course, all the Six Nations teams will be building towards the most prestigious tournament in women’s rugby when the World Cup kicks off in Ireland on 9th August. England are the current holders, having beaten Canada in the final in 2014, and they will be looking to become only the second team to retain the cup. However, there are some phenomenal teams to compete with, not least New Zealand, who have been World Champions four times in a row, as well as France, Canada and hosts Ireland amongst others.
England kick off their campaign against Spain, where they should realistically earn a relatively straightforward win. Next up is Italy, a team that should be familiar to the Red Roses as a fellow Six Nations team. England’s final pool group is against the USA on 17th August.
The World Cup Final will be held on the 26th August in Belfast and England will hope that they are one of the teams competing.
However, the end of the World Cup is not the end of England Women’s rugby in 2017, as they play a three-test series against Canada in November. The final match will be played at Twickenham Stadium straight after the men’s game against Samoa, a fitting end to what will hopefully be a hugely successful year for the Red Roses.