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THE Scottish Government has announced it is allocating £144,352 to help Scotland Women prepare for the Rugby World Cup later this year and to promote the women’s and girls’ game across the country in the build-up to the tournament.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the players to compete at the highest level and to showcase elite women’s sport," Maree Todd, the minister for public health, women's health and sport, said yesterday. “I am immensely proud of what the team have achieved so far and am delighted that we are able to support them financially to represent Scotland at the top level. The players have made huge commitments and sacrifices and I look forward to watching and supporting them later this year.”
Meanwhile, Scotland have announced that they will play warm-up games against the United States and Spain ahead of the World Cup. Bryan Easson's team will play the USA on Saturday 27 August then meet the Spanish national side on Sunday 11 September, with both matches taking place at Edinburgh's DAM Health Stadium.
"To host two quality sides such as USA and Spain as part of our summer Test campaign will provide a fantastic opportunity for our squad to develop and grow ahead of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand," head coach Easson said. “We thoroughly enjoyed playing in front of a record home crowd against England at DAM Health Stadium in April, so hopefully we will have another great crowd to send off the team to New Zealand at the two matches.”
The USA are currently ranked fifth in the world while Spain are tenth - one place above Scotland. The Spanish are familiar opponents, having lost to Scotland in last year's European qualifying tournament for the World Cup, but this will be a first meeting with the USA since 2006.
Scotland are in Pool A at the World Cup alongside Wales, Australia and hosts New Zealand. Their first match is against the Welsh on Sunday 9 October.
The USA are in Pool B with Canada, Italy and Japan, while Pool C consists of England, France, South Africa and Fiji. Spain failed to qualify after finishing behind Scotland and Italy in European qualifying. The top two in each pool plus the two best third-placed sides will go through to the quarter-finals.
Sat 27 August: Scotland v USA (DAM Health Stadium, kick-off tbc)
Sun 11 September: Scotland v Spain (DAM Health Stadium, kick-off tbc).