The women's competition is expanding to have 16 teams

World Rugby confirm pathway to 2025 Rugby World Cup qualification

World Rugby has set out a qualification pathway for the 2025 World Cup as the women’s competition expands to 16 teams.

The host nation, which will be confirmed in May, will automatically qualify for the event. England have been named as the preferred host for the 2025 tournament.

In addition, the semi-finalists of the 2021 event will secure a spot at the next World Cup. The next six teams will be entered into regional tournaments with the winners earning qualification. Finally, teams can qualify is through the WXV – a new three-tiered global competition. This will see at least five teams winning qualification.

“We are committed to ensuring the qualification process also evolves to ensure a fair and certain pathway that provides teams with more opportunities to qualify for the pinnacle event,” Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Alison Hughes said.

“With the inclusion of WXV as part of the qualification pathway, this not only streamlines the qualification process and reduces the necessity for additional qualification tournaments within the new women’s international calendar,  but it will also make the WXV competition even more competitive. [It] brings new meaning as it now provides a final opportunity for all non-qualified teams worldwide to secure their place at Rugby World Cup 2025.”

World Rugby confirm pathway, so what have they said?

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin added his delight at the development of the game.

“This reimagined qualification process,” he said. “Coupled with an expanded event in 2025 will enable World Rugby, in full partnership with unions and regions to develop structures and pathways that promote competitiveness and global expansion.”

The 2021 World Cup will begin in September after being postponed due to Covid restrictions. New Zealand are the hosts and are looking to defend their title.

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