Kiwi Ferns skipper Sarina Fiso and Jillaroos captain Ruan Sims at the 2017 Women's World Cup launch.

Jillaroos to mount staunch World Cup defence

From the drought-breaking State of Origin win earlier this year to the formation of an under-18s Nines tournament to begin in 2017, Jillaroos skipper Ruan Sims has had plenty of reasons to celebrate lately. 

And with the Women's Rugby League World Cup to be played in Australia next year, the rise of women's sport in this country will reach levels it has always deserved.  

Every pool game and both semi-finals will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Sydney, with the decider set for Suncorp Stadium on the same night as the men's final. 

 


Australia will head into next year's tournament as defending champions; a title they've never held until now, and one they're keen to embrace.  

The 22-12 win over New Zealand three years ago ended more than a decade of heartbreak for the Jillaroos who had never won a World Cup before that famous night in Leeds. 

As Sims explained, it wasn't just the feeling of lifting the trophy that meant so much to the players. 

"It was that relief of achieving a goal that you'd worked so hard for," she told NRL.com on Tuesday morning. 

"We broke the curse of the three World Cups and we just gave it everything we had and came away the better team on the day. 

"I was very privileged to be a part of that because we said goodbye to some strong competitors in Karyn Murphy, Tahnee Norris and Nat Dwyer. Those girls all retired after that game and I was just glad that we could send them out on a high."

And while those are memories that will stay with the Jillaroos forever, Sims said the current crop of players couldn't afford to get comfortable heading into next year's World Cup.

The Kiwi Ferns have lifted their game in the years since and have had the wood over Australia with wins at this year's Auckland Nines and in the Anzac Test. 

"They're going to be very hungry, but so are we. We're not going to rest on our laurels from three years ago," she said. 

"I still believe that we are the hunters. I don't believe that we're the hunted. 

"They're leading us in games won and lost since that World Cup. We might be reigning World Cup champions but I still think that we're the underdogs heading into next year and I know that my girls relish that and will play our guts out.

"Every time we pull on this green and gold jersey and we play against the Kiwi Ferns it is a fierce competition and something that I relish."