THE winner of this year’s Women’s Rugby League World Cup will hold aloft a new World Cup trophy as unveiled by tournament organisers in Sydney on Tuesday.
With 100 days to go until the event kicks off at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Cronulla, members of defending world champions the Australian Harvey Norman Jillaroos, including Gerringong’s Ruan Sims, delivered the trophy in a Sutherland Shire lifeguard rescue buggy at a special event held at Cronulla Beach.
Rugby League World Cup 2017 CEO Andrew Hill said this marked an exciting milestone not only for this year’s Women’s Rugby League World Cup but the game in general.
“Women’s Rugby League continues to go from strength to strength and in 100 days from now we will witness the best players contest for the title of 2017 World Cup winners,” Hill said.
“With this year’s tournament being the first ever standalone Women’s Rugby League World Cup, both the tournament organising committee and the Rugby League International Federation thought it only appropriate to introduce this impressive trophy that will herald in a new era for women’s rugby league.
“With the support of the Australian, New South Wales and Queensland Governments, we look forward to delivering the best ever Women’s Rugby League World Cup,”
Australia, England and Cook Islands have been drawn in pool A with New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Canada in pool B.
The top two from each pool will progress to the semi-finals, with the top placed team from pool A playing the runners-up of pool B and vice versa.
Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims said the team knows they will have to be at their best to retain their World Cup title.
“Our preparation for this year’s World Cup started the moment we returned from England in 2013,” Sims said.
“The hunger to go back-to-back is a collective goal of all associated with the Jillaroos and the carrot of playing in a home World Cup has taken our sport to the next level.
“It’s heartwarming to see how far women’s rugby league has grown and evolved across all levels over the past four years and this progress has been acknowledged with the staging of a standalone Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
“I’m sure I speak on behalf of all teams when I say we can’t wait to play in front of large crowds at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Sydney and compete for the opportunity to hold aloft the brand-new trophy in Brisbane as 2017 World Cup winners.”
The pool matches of this year’s tournament will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium as triple-headers on November 16, 19 and 22 with the semi-finals to be played as a double-header on November 26 at the same venue.
Both the men’s and women’s finals will be staged as a double-header at Brisbane Stadium on December 2, 2017 – the first time two World Cup winners will be crowned on the same day, on the same stage.