We take a look at the four teams in Pool C at Women's Rugby World Cup 2017, which features France, hosts Ireland, Australia and Japan.



Best finish: Third (1991, 1994, 2002, 2006 and 2014)
Worst finish: Eighth (1998)
Women's Rugby World Cup record: Played 32 / Won 21 / Lost 11 
Women's Rugby World Cup points scored: 799

Most capped player in squad: Gaëlle Mignot and Elodie Poublan, 65 caps

Did you know...? France have reached the semi-finals on six occasions but have never managed to reach the title decider, their best placing being third ... five times.

Coach: Samuel Cherouk
Captain: Gaëlle Mignot

One to watch: Chloé Pelle 
Having caught the eye on the HSBC World Rugby Women's Sevens Series this season and earned a place in the Clermont-Ferrand Dream Team with her impressive displays, Pelle has turned her attention to 15s and will be hoping to shine for Les Bleues as they bid to reach a first Women's Rugby World Cup final this month. The 27-year-old has five tests to her name, although her appearance against Wales in this year's Six Nations was her first for five years, having focused on sevens in the interim. A player blessed with pace and quick feet, opponents would be wise not to give this winger an inch of space unless they want to see her racing away to score a try.


Best finish: Fourth (2014)
Worst finish: 14th (2002)
Women's Rugby World Cup record: Played 27 / Won 12 / Lost 15 
Women's Rugby World Cup points scored: 387

Most capped player in squad: Claire Molloy, 53 caps

Did you know...? Alison Miller's try at WRWC 2014 gave Irish rugby their first ever win over New Zealand at any level and also ended the Black Ferns' 20-match unbeaten run in the tournament.

Coach: Tom Tierney
Captain: Claire Molloy

One to watch: Lindsay Peat (pictured)
The loose-head prop has only been playing rugby for two years, but has already established herself as a mainstay of the Ireland front-row and started every match in the Six Nations earlier this year, scoring tries against Scotland and Wales The current Irish Women's Rugby Player of the Year, the 36-year-old has represented her country in basketball and age level soccer and also won an All-Ireland football title with Dublin before taking up rugby. 


Best finish: Third (2010)
Worst finish: Seventh (2006, 2014)
Women's Rugby World Cup record: Played 24 / Won 14 / Lost 10 
Women's Rugby World Cup points scored: 497

Most capped player in squad: Ashleigh Hewson, 15 caps 

Did you know...? Captain Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams led Australia to the first Olympic sevens gold medals at Rio 2016 on 8 August.

Coach: Paul Verrell
Captain: Shannon Parry

One to watch: Sharni Williams
The former car mechanic is one of three Australian Sevens players in the Wallaroos squad and together with Shannon Parry led her country to the first rugby sevens Olympic gold medal at Rio 2016 to cap a year of dominance in the shorter form of the game. The centre wears her heart on her sleeve and never gives anything less than 100 per cent in everything she does, a quality that will be invaluable to Australia with over half of their squad only having made their debut since last October. A strong-running centre, this will be Williams's third World Cup, having been part of the Australian side that reached the semi-finals in 2010.  


Best finish: Eighth (1994)
Worst finish: 13th (2002)
Women's Rugby World Cup record: Played 10 / Won 1 / Lost 9 
Women's Rugby World Cup points scored: 43

Most capped player in squad: Seina Saito, 16

Did you know...? Japan's analyst at WRWC 2017 is Keiko Asami, who was part of the last Sakura 15 team to play on this stage back in 2002.  

Coach: Goshi Arimizu
Captain: Seina Saito

One to watch: Riho Kurogi
The versatile back – she covers centre, winger and full-back – was a constant threat in the recent Asia Rugby Women's Championship, scoring a brace of tries in both emphatic wins over Hong Kong and also showing her prowess from the kicking tee with five conversions in the away 60-19 victory. The 19-year-old made her debut against the same opponents in 2015 and has a strike-rate of a try a match with six to-date, including one against Fiji and Hong Kong in the Asia/Oceania qualifying tournament last December that confirmed the Sakura 15 would return to the WRWC stage after a 15-year absence.

Who do you think will rise to the top of Pool C or spring a surprise along the way? Join the conversation @WorldRugby using #WRWC2017.

Photo credit: Inpho