Women’s Six Nations rivals England and France are set to battle it out once more at the 2021 Rugby World Cup after the two sides were drawn together in Pool C.
Heavyweights of the world game, Simon Middleton’s England and Annick Hayraud’s France join South Africa and Fiji in Pool C for the ninth Rugby World Cup for women in New Zealand in 2021.
Wales, meanwhile, have been drawn in a tough-looking Pool A alongside five-time World Champions New Zealand, world number five ranked Australia and a Final Qualification winner.
England, two-time World Cup winners, and France, who are currently ranked world number one and four respectively, are certainly no strangers to one another having between them claimed the last five Women’s Six Nations crowns.
Middleton’s side came through a pulsating encounter with France in Round 1 of this year’s Championship 19-13, a vital victory on their path to a 16th Women’s Six Nations title.
The two sides have recent World Cup experience going head-to-head also, England triumphing 20-3 against their rivals from across the Channel in the 2017 World Cup semi-finals.
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England also beat France 18-6 in the semi-finals of the 1994 World Cup, which the former went on to win.
France have finished third six times in World Cup history but never reached a final, a record they will be aiming to end in 2021.
Wales, who finished sixth in this year’s Women’s Six Nations, came seventh at the 2017 World Cup and will face a gruelling Australasian examination in Pool A from hosts New Zealand and Australia.
Ireland, Scotland and Italy all still have the chance to qualify for the competition through a European regional qualifier tournament and subsequent Repechage tournament.
Indeed, one of those sides could feature in Pool B which currently contains 1991 World Champions USA and Canada with the pool completed by an as yet undetermined Asian regional qualifier and European regional qualifier.
The 2021 Rugby World Cup takes place from 18 September-16 October 2021 in Auckland and Whangarei.