Ireland have been drawn in the same group as France, Australia and either Fiji, Japan or Hong Kong for next year's Women's Rugby World Cup

The pools stages of the tournament take place at UCD next August, while the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast will host the semi finals and final of the competition which will run from the 9-26 August.

Current world champions England are in a group that contains USA, Italy and Scotland/Spain.

Canada, New Zealand, Wales and Asia/Oceania 2 comprise the other group. 

Speaking about the draw which took place in Belfast's City Hall, Ireland captain Niamh Briggs said: "This is a huge opportunity for the Irish team. We've been drawn with France who we know well from the Six Nations, as well as Australia and then one of Fiji, Japan or Hong Kong so we will be looking forward to the challenge of taking on those teams in UCD in nine months time.

"With the competition taking place in our own back yard, it gives the Irish fans a huge opportunity to bring as much passion and support to Dublin and Belfast as possible so we're looking forward to seeing lots of green at the venues next August.” 

Jacqui Hurley with World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, former England international Maggie Alphonsi, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 Ambassador Fiona Coghlan and Dame Mary Peters at today's draw