World Rugby has confirmed that Australia and New Zealand will contest hosting rights for the 2021 edition of the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
The two countries have been selected after their respective unions submitted their bid responses to the international federation by a deadline of August 10. In June, World Rugby detailed an initial list of nations that had showed interest in the hosting rights which also included England, France, Portugal and Wales. The two bids will now undergo a detailed evaluation before the World Rugby Council announces the host during its interim meeting in Dublin, Ireland on November 14.
In submitting their bids, Australia and New Zealand were required to outline their vision for hosting the World Cup and ensure the delivery of an event that will further promote the growth of the women’s game.
Bids were required to reflect World Rugby’s hosting objectives, which include a vision for the tournament and how it can build on the success of the 2017 event in Ireland, a strong financial model and commercial capability, venues and infrastructure that meets requirements, full venues and a strong fan base, consideration of player welfare, a clear Impact Beyond Legacy programme, and a strong marketing and communications policy to promote fan awareness and ticket sales.
The 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup will be an extended version of the tournament, running for 35 days instead of 23. The tournament will feature a quarter-final stage, while squad sizes will also increase from 28 players to 30.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It is particularly exciting that both bids have strong government financial backing, which underscores the importance and attractiveness of Women’s Rugby World Cup as a sporting, societal, economic and legacy driver. This excellent support reflects the significant global excitement and momentum behind women’s rugby and women in rugby.
“Ireland 2017 was a magnificent tournament by any Rugby World Cup standards and I am sure that both unions will be determined to raise the bar again as we look forward to a tournament that features an exciting new format.”
New Zealand won last year’s Women’s World Cup in Ireland, defeating England in the final. Neither Australia nor New Zealand have hosted the tournament before, although the latter nation has won five of the last six events.