Ireland handed a tough draw ahead of the Women's Rugby World Cup

The hosts are looking to match their 2014 performance in reaching the semi-fnals

Ireland handed a tough draw ahead of the Women's Rugby World Cup

Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Ireland have been handed a tough draw ahead of the 2017 Women's Rugby World Cup.

In the draw that took place on Wednesday morning in Belfast, the hosts were drawn into Pool C alongside France, Australia and an Asia/Oceania qualifier from Fiji, Japan or Hong Kong. The hosts did though avoid World champions England and Canada who were top seeds.

France defeated Ireland in the third-place play-off in 2014 in Paris. Since then France have defeated Ireland, both home and away in the Six Nations. Australia were the highest-ranked team in the third pot, making Ireland's path to the semi-finals difficult.

Clare McLaughlin, Niamh Briggs, Nora Stapleton and Alison Miller. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

The three Pool winners, along with the best second-placed team will reach the last four, with Tom Tierney's side hoping to at least match their historic performance in France in 2014.

Taking place between August 9th and 26th next year, the Pool games take place in Dublin, before the culmination of the tournament in Belfast's Kingspan Stadium.

The Pool schedule will be released in the near future, with UCD's campus hosting all the matches.