Wales women have been pooled with the defending World Champions for the forthcoming Women's Rugby World Cup.
Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) today announced the pools for the tournament which will take place next summer in England.
The premier 15-aside tournament in the Women's Game, which will be played from August 20 to September 5, will feature three pools of four teams with defending champions New Zealand, hosts and 2006 runners-up England and 2006 bronze medalists France all ranked top seeds in their pool.
The unprecedented qualification process, which saw 16 teams compete for the six places available outside the automatically qualified teams, was completed when Kazakhstan defeated Japan 43-5 to claim a place in Pool B, while Sweden join Pool C in their first appearance on the Women's Rugby World Cup stage since 1998.
Pool A: New Zealand, Wales, Australia, South Africa
Pool B: England, USA, Ireland, Kazakhstan
Pool C: France, Canada, Scotland, Sweden
New Zealand, England, France, Canada, USA and South Africa all qualified directly, with Wales and Ireland qualifying through the Six Nations, Sweden and Scotland from the European qualifiers in May, Australia as the Oceania qualifier and Kazakhstan from Asia.
Wales have only met the All Blacks on one previous occasion, but tasted defeat in April of 1991, with a 24-6 loss at Llanharan
Twelve young people have been selected to follow a one year WRU Coach Core apprenticeship programme. Coach Core was set up by the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry as part of the Olympics legacy in 2012 and the Duke of Cambridge was on hand to meet the apprentices on their first day in the job. The programme has been funded by the Hunter Foundation.
The WRU has launched a campaign to create a long term legacy for Welsh club rugby by highlighting the advantages of volunteering. Rhian Edwards, a volunteer at Seven Sisters, has enjoyed many benefits of her volunteering at a grassroots rugby club including being part of the Rugby World Cup volunteer workforce after being nominated by the WRU - and the WRU is asking for more people to develop their 'Welsh rugby roots'.
Wales head coach Warren Gatland and captain Sam Warburton say their first prioirty on Sunday in the opening game of the World Cup is to win against Uruguay and not get overly concerned with points difference.
With only days to go until the biggest rugby competition in the world begins, rugby fans visiting Cardiff this autumn will be able to enjoy a special display at National Museum Cardiff as part of the celebrations surrounding the Rugby World Cup.