England Hunter set to get France in World Cup draw

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WELLINGTON: England captain Sarah Hunter had the funny feeling ahead of next year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup draw that her top-ranked team would be paired with France, a team they meet at the ‘an international in London on Saturday.

The second-seeded Hunter’s side have been grouped together with France in Pool C, while host New Zealand will meet trans-Tasmanian rival Australia in Pool A and Canada, third, will face the United States in Pool B.

“I just had a hunch that we were going to be drawn against France, I don’t know what it was,” Hunter said in a statement Friday.

“When we played them in the semi-finals of the last World Cup, it was probably one of the most physically demanding matches I’ve played,” she added of the 20- victory. 3 in Belfast in 2017.

“If we’re going to win the World Cup we’re going to have to face the best teams along the way, so if they’re in our pool that’s what we’re focusing on to get out of our pool. ”

The fierce nature of the 12-team tournament means that all three pool winners advance to the semi-finals, with fourth place being taken by the best-placed finalist.

The format led to major upheavals, with New Zealand failing to advance to the semi-finals in 2014, while Canada experienced a similar situation in 2017.

An audible gasp from the crowd of 400 in central Auckland was heard as the hosts were drawn into the same pool as Australia, although Wallaroos full-back Lori Cramer thought it would only be ‘another typical trans-Tasman battle.

“I heard a chuckle in the crowd there when our ball was shot (with New Zealand) so that’s good,” Cramer said.

“I think it’s still a friendly or a World Cup match between Australia and New Zealand. ”

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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