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
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.