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Ireland have learned what potentially awaits them in the pool stages of the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup. 

The draw was made on Thursday evening in Auckland.

The United States, Canada and an Asian qualifier have been drawn in Pool B, along with the winners of the European qualifying tournament.

Ireland were due to play Scotland, Italy and another qualifier (Romania, Belgium, Russia, Georgia, Spain or Portugal) in the mini-tournament next month but it's been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Should Adam Griggs' side not manage to win that competition, another route will be open to them.

Another qualification mini-tournament featuring Oceania's runner-up, and either Colombia or Kenya would await them.

The winners of that route will head into the much trickier Pool A with hosts New Zealand, Wales and Australia.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, speaking at the draw, said: “After all this World Cup is an opportunity. An opportunity to grow the game here but also internationally an opportunity to showcase our elite athletes and provide inspiration for girls, and boys.

"An opportunity to break down gender discrimination in sport. And finally an opportunity to extend the manaakitanga that New Zealand is famous for.

"We are committed to a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021 and we can’t wait to welcome all 12 teams to Aotearoa New Zealand."

2021 World Cup pools: 
Pool A: New Zealand, Wales, Australia, final qualifier

Pool B: Canada, USA, Europe 1, Asia 1

Pool C: England, France, South Africa, Fiji

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