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Monday, 13 May, 2002, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Women's World Cup history
The United States, minnows in men's rugby, aim to contest a fourth successive women's Rugby World Cup final in 2002.

The first time the best teams in women's rugby came together was in Cardiff in 1991.

It, like the second World Cup three years later in Edinburgh did not have the official backing of the International Rugby Board - an honour only bestowed on the 1998 tournament.

The decision to host a women's World Cup came after an international tournament in New Zealand in 1990.

Women's rugby at this time did not have the exposure, let alone the backing of many of their parent unions.

The fact that 12 teams turned up for the event was a minor miracle.

New Zealand, against the blessing of the NZRFU, paid their own way to the tournament with some of their best players unable to afford the trip.

The United States, a force to be reckoned with in world rugby, won the final, beating England 19-6.

En route to the final they beat New Zealand 7-0 - it would be 10 years before they would taste defeat again.

Three years later New Zealand obeyed their union's wishes and did not travel to Edinburgh, but the United States faced 10 challengers to their crown.

England exacted revenge for their 1991 defeat to beat the defending champions 38-23.

The first World Cup full sanctioned by the IRB took place in the Netherlands in 1998.

Sixteen teams, including first appearances by Australia and Germany, took part before New Zealand overran United States 44-12 in the final.

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