Wives and girlfriends set to provide World Cup glamour

By Abby Gillies

A British royal, a Welsh X-Factor contestant and a French beauty queen - they could all be adding some glitz to the cocktail parties and corporate boxes of the Rugby World Cup.

All are WAGS - wives and girlfriends of international rugby royalty. Or, as the Brits call them, "scrummies".

One even made her name playing a WAG on the television show that invented the term, Footballers' Wives. On the television show, she was Chardonnay Lane-Pascoe, in real life, she is Susie Amy, who started dating Irish rugby player Rob Kearney last year.

But not that many of them will be allowed to stay in the same hotels as the rugby teams.

One of the scrummies is the Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips, who is expected to jet into New Zealand to support fiance England star Mike Tindall.

The pair became engaged in December, two years after their last trip to New Zealand in 2008 when he played here during an England rugby tour.

They will marry in Edinburgh on July 30, and have postponed their honeymoon because of Tindall's training and playing commitments for the World Cup, ending on October 23.

Other WAGS include model and former Miss Ireland Aoife Cogan, who is dating Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy, and X-Factor finalist Lucie Jones, the girlfriend of Welsh player Leigh Halfpenny.

Former Miss France Alexandra Rosenfeld, the wife of Italian skipper Sergio Parisse, is another likely guest.

Scottish player Dan Parks' dark good looks have made him a favourite with the ladies. But he may break some Kiwi hearts if his French girlfriend Laetitia Guidicelli decides to join him.

Auckland socialite Casey Green, fiancee of All Black Ali Williams, told the Herald on Sunday she was looking forward to getting to know some of the international WAGS.

"I'd love to sit down and drink some wines with the Welsh ladies," she said. "They generally know how to drink."

Being the partner of a high-profile player was a "nice family environment", she said.

"At the end of the day your partner's living their dream out so it's definitely something nice to be part of."

Williams will find out after the Tri Nations whether he has been selected for the World Cup team.

Kiwi designers will be taking advantage of the influx of visitors with Fashion Week due to take place during the six-week tournament.

A series of fashion shows are scheduled for Dunedin, Christchurch Wellington and Auckland.

- Herald on Sunday

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