Having missed out on Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021, Ireland are celebrating their return to the game’s biggest stage after securing qualification for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 through a third-place finish in the Guinness Women’s Six Nations 2024. 

Ireland’s best Women’s Six Nations performance in three years, a three place improvement on last year’s finish, also ensured they’ll be playing the best teams later this year in WXV 1 in Canada.

Scott Bemand’s side, who won WXV 3 in his first tournament in charge in Dubai last October, went into the final round of the Women’s Six Nations languishing in fifth place and needing to beat in-form Scotland while also hoping Wales could do them a favour against Italy in the first game of the day.

Wales duly delivered by downing the Azzurre 22-20 in front of a record 10,592 crowd at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, a win which was sealed thanks to Silisia Tuipulotu’s late try and Lleucu George’s conversion.  

So it was over to Ireland to upset a Scotland side in line for their best finish in 19 years. Scotland still occupied the coveted third place at kick off but Ireland took it off them by edging a tight and tense match in the Belfast rain, 15-12.

Ireland had to come from behind twice, tries from Katie Corrigan and replacement Clíodhna Moloney, keeping them in contention before Dannah O’Brien struck the winning penalty in the 73rd minute. 

The win will lift Ireland above USA in the World Rugby Women’s Rankings once they are officially updated at 12 noon BST on Monday, as long as the Women’s Eagles lose at home to Canada in the opening match of the World Rugby Pacific Four Series.

Ireland will now compete alongside Women’s Six Nations 2024 winners England and runners-up France at RWC 2025.

As the host nation for RWC 2025, England automatically qualified for the tournament, with Canada, France and New Zealand also securing direct qualification to the pinnacle event after finishing in the top four at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand (played in 2022). 

Six teams will qualify via regional competitions in 2024, with winners or highest non-qualified teams in Asia, Africa, Europe - now confirmed as Ireland, Oceania, South America and World Rugby’s cross-regional competition, the Pacific Four Series, securing a direct ticket to England 2025.

Meanwhile, England won a sixth consecutive Women’s Six Nations title on Saturday when they beat France 42-21 in front of a record crowd of 28,000 for a Les Bleues’ international on French soil.

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 is coming to England. Register now to be the first to hear about tickets.