The 2021 Rugby World Cup will kick off in September in New Zealand, the Kiwi governing body announced on Tuesday.
New Zealand Rugby unveiled the dates for the 2021 tournament, for which they won the rights in 2018, and the competition will begin later than previous iterations.
All previous events have been hosted in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning they have kicked off generally in June, but with the switch to the south, the tournament will be in New Zealand's spring.
Pool matches will begin on Saturday September 18 and run until September 28, with quarter-finals on October 3, Semifinals a week later and the World Cup final to be played on Saturday October 16.
Eden Park has been confirmed as the host venue for the World Cup semis and final after being a major drawcard in New Zealand's successful bid presentation.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said the tournament provided a major opportunity to expand the reach of the sport.
“Women’s rugby is the single-biggest opportunity to grow the global game, and we are confident that New Zealand 2021 will be one of the great Rugby World Cups, attracting a new fan and player base for the sport," he said.
“RWC 2021 follows a hugely successful 2017 event in Ireland which broke attendance and broadcast records, having a hugely positive impact on women’s rugby. Last year we successfully launched ‘Try and Stop Us’, a campaign that aims to drive increased participation and engagement among fans, audiences, players and investors in the women’s game.
"It is a privilege to be here in New Zealand and to see the huge amount of work that has already gone into ensuring this will be another spectacular tournament for the world’s best women’s teams.”
NZR Chief Executive Mark Robinson said they were looking forward to hosting the tournament for the first time.
“This is an event we are very excited to be hosting and we can’t wait to have the world’s best women’s teams play here. The Black Ferns love playing at home and I know they are excited at the prospect of retaining the Rugby World Cup at home.
“Together with the support from Central Government, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, and Whangarei District Council we are committed to working alongside World Rugby to deliver an exciting event that continues to grow the game and deliver benefits for rugby in New Zealand and globally.
“As part of the bid team that presented to World Rugby in Dublin in 2018, it is now a real privilege to continue to be involved in the delivery of the tournament and to see preparations come to life.
“We share World Rugby’s global ambition to get more women and girls involved in rugby and RWC 2021 is a great way to showcase women’s rugby at an elite level and provide inspiration for boys and girls to get involved in our game."
Round 1 - Saturday September 18, Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events centre
Round 2 - Thursday September 23, Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events centre
Round 3 - Tuesday September 28, Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events centre
Quarter-finals - Sunday October 3, Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events centre
Semi-finals - Saturday October 9, Eden Park
Bronze final - Saturday October 16, Eden Park
Final - Saturday October 16, Eden Park