South Africa will face Wales, France and Australia in the 2014 IRB Women’s Rugby World Cup in France after being named in Pool C at the official World Cup draw in Paris on Wednesday.
The competition, which runs from August 1 to 17, 2014, will feature 12 teams drawn in three pools.
With Australia ranked in the top three on the Women’s rugby world rankings, and France and Wales respectively a few places below them, the Springbok Women’s side will enter the tournament as the lowest ranked team in Pool C.
The Springbok Women qualified for the 2014 Rugby World Cup in September with their record-breaking 63-3 victory against Uganda in East London, which marked the biggest win in the history of the women’s national team.
Next year’s international showpiece will represent the Springbok Women’s third successive Rugby World Cup appearance.
Australia and Wales were drawn in the same pool as SA in the 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup in England, and the team defeated the Welsh 15-10 in their second pool match.
Wales, however, emerged victorious in the second outing between the teams in the ninth and 10th place playoff later in the tournament.
Springbok Women’s captain Mandisa Williams was satisfied with the draw although she admitted that her team would have to be in top form as Australia, France and Wales are quality sides.
“There will never be an easy draw at a Rugby World Cup, so we are satisfied with our pool, although we know it is going to be a challenging competition,” said Williams.
“We defeated Wales in the round-robin stages of the last World Cup, but just as have we have developed as a team, so have all the other sides participating in the spectacle, so we will not take anything for granted.”
After progressing from a 12th place finish in their first World Cup in Canada in 2006 to 10th place in the 2010 showpiece, Williams hoped that the increased international exposure the women have enjoyed since then would allow them to create a few upsets next year.
“We have certainly developed as a team over the last few years and the fact that we have been exposed to more international rugby in the 15-a-side and Sevens codes has assisted in that regard,” said Williams.
“But the hard work starts now. It is up to us to grow as a unit and be in the best possible form for the World Cup.
"Fortunately we have experienced senior players and talented youngsters coming through, so we have to make the most of this when we begin our preparations.”
Defending Rugby World Cup champions New Zealand were drawn in Pool B with the USA, Ireland and Kazakhstan, while 2010 finalists England were named in Pool A with Canada, Spain and Samoa.
Speaking after the draw at Hotel de Ville in Paris, IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “This is a really exciting day for Women's Rugby.
"We now know the pools for France 2014, and fans are going to see some really excellent matches. The World Cup in 2010 saw a great standard of rugby, but I believe the matches next August will see an even greater level of intensity and skill. I wish all 12 teams the very best over the coming year as they prepare for this magnificent event.”
The dates of the fixtures will be announced at a later date.