What you need to know about the 2021 tournament in New Zealand

When Is The Women’s Rugby World Cup?

The next Women’s Rugby World Cup will take place in New Zealand in July and August 2021.

New Zealand beat Australia in the race to be awarded hosting rights for the next global tournament and it will be the first Women’s World Cup to be staged in the southern hemisphere.

The Black Ferns will defend their current title on home soil in 2021, with matches to be played in four venues across the North Island – Waitakere Stadium (Auckland, 5,000 capacity), Northland Events Centre (Whangarei, 20,000 capacity), Albany Stadium (North Harbour, 25,000 capacity) and Eden Park (Auckland, 50,000 capacity).

When is the Women’s Rugby World Cup?

Tournament venue: The All Blacks during a training session at Waitakere Stadium (Getty Images)

The 2021 tournament has been extended to run over 35 days rather than 23 as World Rugby have introduced quarter-finals and longer rest periods between matches to benefit player welfare.

The Black Ferns have won five of the nine Women’s World Cups that have taken place to date, the most recent with a 41-32 victory against England in the 2017 final in Belfast.

The USA won the inaugural tournament in 1991 while England have been crowned world champions twice, in 1994 and 2014.


1991 USA 19-6 England (hosts Wales)

1994 England 38-23 USA (hosts Scotland)

1998 New Zealand 44-12 USA (hosts Netherlands)

2002 New Zealand 19-9 England (hosts Spain)

2006 New Zealand 25-17 England (hosts Canada)

2010 New Zealand 13-10 England (hosts England)

2014 England 21-9 Canada (hosts France)

2017 New Zealand 41-32 England (hosts Ireland)

After the 2014 tournament in France, World Rugby announced that the next global showpiece would be in 2017 and subsequently run every four years so that there is either a Men’s or Women’s World Cup every other year.

When is the Women’s Rugby World Cup?

Chasing a place: Ireland and Scotland will play in a European qualifying tournament in 2020 (Getty Images)

Seven countries automatically qualified for WRWC 2021 from their performances at the last tournament – New Zealand, England, France, USA, Canada, Australia and Wales.

The other qualifiers will come from:

  • Africa – the winners of the 2019 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup.
  • Asia – the winners of the 2020 Asia Women’s Championship.
  • Europe – the winners of a qualification tournament in September 2020 involving Ireland, Italy, Scotland and the 2020 Rugby Europe Women’s Championship champions.
  • Oceania – the winners of the 2019 Oceania Women’s Championship.

The final place will be decided by a repechage tournament in late 2020. The runners-up from the Asia, Europe and Oceania events will play in the repechage. The fourth team involved will be the winner of a play-off between the winners of the South America qualification tournament and the runners-up from the Africa Women’s Cup.

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