England, France drawn in same pool for women's World Cup

RESENDING WITH COMPLETE SCRIPT

VIDEO SHOWS: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE OFFICIAL DRAW FOR THE 2021 WOMEN'S RUGBY WORLD CUP, SOUNDBITES FROM NEW ZEALAND CAPTAIN ELOISE BLACKWELL ON DRAW, SOUNDBITE FROM NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN ON HOSTING THE TOURNAMENT

SHOWS: AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND (NOVEMBER 20, 2020) (WORLD RUGBY - ACCESS ALL)

1. PRESENTERS, INCLUDING NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN (FAR LEFT), ON STAGE FOR THE START OF THE DRAW

2. ARDERN MAKING OPENING DRAW

3. ARDERN DRAWING HOSTS NEW ZEALAND INTO 'POOL A'

4. 'POOL A' BALL ON STAND

5. PRESENTERS ON STAGE

6. FORMER NEW ZEALAND RUGBY PLAYER, DAN CARTER, PULLING 'FINAL QUALIFIER WINNER' INTO 'POOL A'

7. CARTER PULLING 'ASIA 1' INTO 'POOL B'

8. CARTER PULLING FIJI INTO 'POOL C'

9. DRAW IN PROGRESS

10. FORMER NEW ZEALAND RUGBY PLAYER, MELODIE ROBINSON, DRAWING WALES INTO 'POOL A'

11. ROBINSON DRAWING 'EUROPE 1' INTO 'POOL B'

12. ROBINSON DRAWING SOUTH AFRICA INTO 'POOL C'

13. DRAW IN PROGRESS

14. FORMER NEW ZEALAND RUGBY PLAYER AND HALL OF FAMER, DOCTOR FARAH PALMER, DRAWING AUSTRALIA INTO 'POOL A' (CROWD REACTS WITH CHUCKLES)

15. PALMER DRAWING USA INTO 'POOL B'

16. PALMER DRAWING FRANCE INTO 'POOL C'

17. DRAW IN PROGRESS

18. ARDERN DRAWING CANADA INTO 'POOL B'

19. ARDERN DRAWING ENGLAND INTO 'POOL C'

20. NEW ZEALAND, CANADA, AND ENGLAND BALLS ON STAND

21. DRAW IN PROGRESS

22. CLOSE OF DRAW, APPLAUSE

23. GRAPHIC SHOWING THE COMPLETE DRAW RESULTS WITH EACH OF THE THREE POOLS

24. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND CAPTAIN, ELOISE BLACKWELL, ON THE POOLS, SAYING:

"Yeah, I'm unsure if we've - well not in my time, I've never been in a pool with Australia, but every time we come up against each other it's a massive battle and no doubt next year's going to be nothing different."

PRESENTER ASKING:

"How do you think England and France are feeling right about now, if we want to have a bit of a shout out to some of the rivals?"

BLACKWELL, SAYING:

"Yeah, it's interesting how the pools have come out. We've got an Australasian pool; we've got a North American and a Europe. So, yeah, all across all pools there's some really quality teams and there's going to be some tough games."

25. VARIOUS OF THE WORLD CUP TROPHY

26. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND CAPTAIN, ELOISE BLACKWELL, ON DEFENDING THE TROPHY, SAYING:

"Every opportunity we get to play at home is special [OFF CAMERA] and some of our girls are yet to experience that. So, that's going to be [ON CAMERA] a really awesome moment for them. But, in terms of the World Cup, we're not defending it. We're coming out to win it next year. So, that's the plan for us going forward."

27. APPLAUSE

28. VARIOUS OF YOUNG GIRLS LISTENING FROM THE AUDIENCE AS ARDERN SPEAKS

29. ARDERN SPEAKING ON STAGE

30. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER, JACINDA ARDERN, ON HOSTING THE WOMEN'S RUGBY WORLD CUP AMID THE PANDEMIC, SAYING:

"Pre-COVID-19, this tournament was going to be important to New Zealand. Now, it takes on an extra-special dimension for the whole world. It's one of the few countries in the world where sport can even be played in front of packed stadiums of fans. Rugby World Cup 2021 offers us the chance to showcase New Zealand to a global audience as we unite behind the defending champion Black Ferns."

31. ARDERN LEAVING STAGE TO APPLAUSE

STORY: Top-ranked England and France have been drawn in the same pool for next year's women's Rugby World Cup, while hosts New Zealand were drawn with trans-Tasman neighbours Australia at a ceremony in Auckland on Friday (November 20).

Third-ranked Canada and inaugural champions the United States will be in Pool B for the 12-team tournament, which will be held in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

Two-times winners England and fourth-ranked France will be joined by Fiji and South Africa in Pool C.

Ninth-ranked Wales and the team that wins the final qualifying tournament will join the Black Ferns and Wallaroos in Pool A.

The North American sides will be joined by qualifiers from Asia and Europe in Pool B for the September 18 - October 16, 2021 tournament.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who took part in the draw, said the tournament would take on added significance for rugby amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The seedings were based on rankings from January 1, 2020 as restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the coronavirus meant none of the southern hemisphere teams were able to play this year.

Matches will be held in Auckland and Whangarei, with the final at Eden Park, which hosted the 1987 and 2011 men's World Cup finals.

(Production Kurt Michael Hall)