Italy vs Ireland is the first fixture of the competition on Friday evening (KO 7pm), with Bristol’s Claire Molloy in the mix to start for the Irish. After they made history during the summer – beating New Zealand in the pool stages of the World Cup – the Irish are hoping to build on the success of that competition and secure the win when they travel to Italy at the end of the week.
The second game features reigning champions France who take on Scotland at home, kicking off at 2pm on Saturday.
The final fixture of the weekend sees England up against fierce rivals Wales, with Bristol team mates facing each other on opposite sides of the pitch.
A trio of backs from Bristol are named in the team for England’s first game of the competition. Sydney Gregson and Abbie Brown earn their first caps for England on Sunday, as they feature in the starting line-up for the clash against Wales (KO 2:30pm). Katie Mason joins them on the bench with a team featuring a mixture of youth and experience, led by Darlington Mowden Parks’ Tamara Taylor.
Bristol back row Rachel Taylor will captain an ambitious and hungry Welsh side, looking to beat World Champions England for the first time since 2009.
After the Women’s Rugby World Cup last year, a large number of international players from all teams retired, leaving the path open for a crop of young talent to move through the ranks. As such, this championship is wide open, with each team believing they’ve got what it takes to win.
Meanwhile in Brazil Danielle Waterman and Amy Wilson-Hardy will be flying the Bristol flag in the Sevens tournament, they’ll be hoping to do better than last time out in Dubai and gain extra useful points towards qualification for the Olympics – a busy weekend of rugby ahead!
We’re wishing all the girls the best of luck, and know they’ll make Bristol proud!