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World Rugby has confirmed Australia and New Zealand as Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 host candidates after each union submitted their bid responses to the international federation by the 10 August deadline.
The 2021 tournament will be the first to feature exciting new format changes, including the extension of the tournament window from 23 to 35 days, promoting player welfare, the addition of a quarter-final stage and squad increases from 28 to 30 players, reflecting World Rugby’s commitment to accelerating the development of the women’s game.
Within their submissions, the unions were required to outline their vision and mission for hosting the showcase event.
This included ensuring the delivery of a special and successful event that will further the promotion and growth of women’s rugby in line with the Women’s Plan 2017-25 and core hosting requirements reflecting World Rugby’s eight hosting objectives:
- The vision for the tournament and how candidates will build on the success of WRWC 2017
- A financial model that will support the delivery of a successful tournament
- Strong commercial capability
- Venues and infrastructure in line with requirements
- Full and vibrant venues and a strong fan-base
- Player welfare considered across all the functional areas
- A clear Impact Beyond legacy programme that supports the development of the women’s game
- A strong marketing and communications policy to promote fan awareness and ticket sales
The bids will undergo a detailed evaluation against the above criteria, before the World Rugby Council votes to select the next host of the showcase event at its interim meeting in Dublin on 14 November.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted that Australia and New Zealand – two trailblazers in women’s rugby and women’s sport in general – are committed to hosting a fantastic Women’s Rugby World Cup in 2021.
“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.”
Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 was the best-attended, most-viewed and most socially-engaged ever, setting new standards for the tournament and extending the reach of the game around the world.
The 2017 edition clocked up a total of 45 million video views and had a total reach of more than 70 million throughout the five match days. More than 750,000 fans from 230 countries and territories also visited the official website www.rwcwomens.com, attracting 58 per cent of new fans, setting new records for engagement of the multi-language content for a Women’s Rugby World Cup.