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
Wales Sevens are looking to re-group after a disappointing tournament last time out in South Africa. The next double leg in New Zealand and Las Vegas offers Gareth Williams a chance to redeem themselves.
Wales Women's head coach Rhys Edwards was at Llandovery to see the conclusion of an entertaining Women's Regional championship where any one of three teams were in contention for title glory on the last day of action.
Christmas has come early at Glynneath rugby club, one of a number around Wales who have received an array of merchandise and equipment this December courtesy of the Welsh Rugby Union's £750,000 participation points scheme.
The WRU have been delivering on the scheme - which gives individual clubs access to up to £5,000 worth of supplies and equipment each for the 2014/2015 season - over the last two weeks and today (Friday) were received by a special guest in Glynneath, club president and pitch marker Max Boyce.
As the countdown continues for RWC2015, Tournament Chief Executive Debbie Jevans visited the Millennium Stadium to discuss preparations for the eight matches and reveal the positive news that 100,000 tickets for games at the home of Welsh rugby have sold in the last seven days.
Jason Harries is targeting a first win on the World Series circuit this season with Wales. The series returns to action this weekend in Dubai where Harries is part of a team hoping to build from its efforts in round one in October.
Wales skipper Jevon Groves says his side have addressed a few points from Gold Coast and aim to 'hit the ground running' in the next two rounds of the World Series, kicking off with this weekend in Dubai before heading off to South Africa next week.
Wales Sevens manager Steff Thomas is hopeful his side can build from a quarter-final spot in the opening round of the World Series in Australia when his side take part in the forthcoming double header in Dubai and South Africa.