World Rugby drop gendered titles for World Cups

Rugby World Cup
by RUGBY.com.au staff

World Rugby is set to take a gender neutral approach to its Rugby World Cup titles moving forward.

Both the men's and women's tournaments will simply be known as the Rugby World Cup, the governing body announced on Wednesday night AEST, in a bid to recognise both competitions equally.

The new initiative will begin immediately with the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup dropping the "women's" from its name.

This is an approach that will apply to the Sevens and XVs tournaments, both held every four years.

Wednesday night's announcement comes off the back of World Rugby's women's rugby campaign, dubbed "Try and Stop us", that featured Wallaroos veteran Rebecca Clough.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said the move was a sign of the organisation's dedication to developing the women's game.

"This announcement demonstrates our ongoing and unwavering commitment to advancing women in rugby both on and off the field in line with our ambitious strategic plan, he said.

“Unintentional gender bias in sport is an ongoing issue. As a global sporting federation we need to be leading from the front on the issue of equality.

"By adopting gender balance in the naming of men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup competitions, we are setting new standards in equality in rugby.”

World Rugby Women’s Advisory Committee Chair Serge Simon described it as a "landmark" call.

"This is much more than an initiative – it is the ultimate statement of equality and a first for sport," he said.

"I am excited about this landmark decision, but this is the beginning of the journey. Together, we are working hard to do something very special for women, for the game.”

World Rugby Chief Marketing Officer Marissa Pace added:

“World Rugby is clearly committed to equality in our sport and we decided that we no longer need to identify our marquee events with a gender bias from a brand level," she said.

"Our three World Cup events are the pinnacle of international rugby and we wanted the focus to be on the event and the athletes, not their gender. We’re very proud to be leading the sports industry in this space.”

The 2019 Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan next month while the 2021 Rugby World Cup will be held in New Zealand.