New Zealand to host inaugural WXV tournament

Fri, May 5, 2023, 10:56 PM
AAP
by AAP
The Wallaroos travelled to Tauranga for the first match of the Pacific Four series against the Black Ferns.

England, France and Wales women's rugby teams will head for New Zealand in October as the world champions host the inaugural WXV tournament.

World Rugby has confirmed the venues and dates for the new three-tier competition, which seeks to increase "the competitiveness, reach and impact" of the 15-a-side women's game across the globe.

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Eighteen teams will take part in the event, with the top six battling it out in WXV 1 in New Zealand across three weekends on October 21 and 28 and November 4.

The next six will contest WXV 2 in South Africa over three weekends in October, and WXV 3 also in October but with the venue dependent on the nations qualifying.

The Wallaroos will aim to qualify for WXV 1 - which will feature the top three teams from the recently completed Six Nations - England, France and Wales - as well as the top three teams following the Pacific Four Series in July, involving Australia, the Black Ferns, USA and Canada.

They will open their Pac Four campaign against the Kiwis on June 29 in Brisbane.

This will be followed by clashes against the USA (July 9) and Canada (July 16) in Ottawa.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said the tournament was part of a pledge at last year's Rugby World Cup to accelerate the women's game.

"Much progress is being made at rapid pace and today we are marking another milestone with confirmation of the dates and venues for the inaugural WXV competition," Beaumont said in a statement.

"With women and girls leading our strategy to grow the sport on a global basis, this competition will increase the reach and impact of the sport and drive the overall competitiveness of women's international rugby as we look forward to an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup 2025 in England and subsequent Rugby World Cups in Australia in 2029 and USA in 2033."

Each division in the annual tournament will be played out as a cross-pool format, with promotion and relegation - although not for the first two years leading up to the 2025 World Cup.

WXV - How does it work?

WXV 1

WXV 1 will consist of six teams and be played in a cross-pool format. Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams from the World Rugby Pacific Four Series (Rugby Americas North/Oceania). Each team will play three matches. There will be no relegation or promotion for the first two years.

WXV 2

The WXV 2 competition will consist of six teams, playing in a cross-pool format. Participating teams for 2023 will include two teams from Europe, the fourth-placed team from the Pacific Four Series, alongside one team from Oceania, Asia and Africa.

The sixth-placed regional position in the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season will be relegated to WXV 3.

WXV 3

WXV 3 will also be played as a cross-pool format, made up of six teams: two from Europe and one from Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America. The regional position of the winner of WXV 3 will be promoted to WXV 2 and the bottom team will play off against the next best ranked side, according to the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini on the Monday after the final match of WXV that year.

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