Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 is now only a year away but for Ireland captain Niamh Briggs it simply can’t come quickly enough for her and her team-mates.
In fact Briggs, already a veteran of two tournaments, would love the next 365 days to whizz by just as the last 18 months have since Ireland was announced as the WRWC 2017 host nation.
“When we got the bid everything was very much in the future and now we are a year out,” Briggs told World Rugby. “Time has gone so quickly.
“Even though we have got a lot of preparation to do and a lot of work to do like every other country, we are really, really excited about next year. We probably want this year to go as quickly so we can get playing.”
The eighth edition of Women’s Rugby World Cup gets underway in Ireland on 9 August with pool matches at University College Dublin, before moving Belfast for the play-off rounds at Queen's University Sport and Kingspan Stadium. The final will be held at Kingspan Stadium on 26 August.
Nine teams are already confirmed in the 12-strong field in defending champions England, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, USA and Australia by finishing in the top seven at WRWC 2014 and Italy and Wales through the Women's Six Nations across 2015 and 2016.
A mini World Cup
The remaining three teams will be known by the end of this year as excitement continues to build towards Ireland 2017.
There is plenty of rugby to play before the tournament kicks off with Briggs looking forward to a "mini World Cup" in November when England, Canada and New Zealand come to Ireland.
“I think we’ve always said the more top level games we get the better,” insisted Briggs. “England are world champions, Canada were finalists in 2014 and New Zealand, who are probably the best team in women’s rugby up until they were defeated in France.
“Playing three of the top nations in the world is going to be incredibly difficult for us but it is a stepping stone to where want to go.
“It is really exciting times for women’s rugby and it almost going to be a little dry run for a mini Women’s Rugby World Cup. It is going to be exciting and definitely where we want to be with the World Cup in a year’s time.“
The three-match series will also give Irish rugby fans a taste of what is to come when the world's best women's teams converge on Dublin and Belfast for the showpiece event.
"We have always had really good support over the last number of years. Even at away games we have had a core group of supporters who have always followed us and it’s been great, but I think over the last couple of years at home especially it has been a bonus for us.
"Hopefully they will come out and watch some good rugby and see some of the best teams in the world because it is not often they get to come on these shores and it’s not often we get to put on a show. We are really looking forward to it."
Whatever happens in the November series, Briggs has been part of an Irish women's side that have been rewriting the history books in the last few years, winning a first Six Nations Grand Slam in 2013, beating four-time world champions New Zealand for the first time at WRWC 2014 and a second Six Nations title in 2015.
For the 31-year-old and the rest of the squad it is important to create a legacy for the game that continues whenever they decide to hang up the boots in the future, and hosting the World Cup on home soil is the perfect catalyst to foster the growth of women's rugby in Ireland.
"It is absolutely huge. The IRFU have really backed us and put in a really good bid to help us host a huge tournament. It has been massive for us.
"For those of us playing, we are trying to put in a legacy for the younger girls coming into the game so that when we retire the foundations are there and more and more girls are inspired to play. That is the most important for us, so hosting it is huge. It is a huge thing for us to be role models."