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World Rugby Reveals New Global Women’s Competition


World Rugby Reveals New Global Women’s Competition

World Rugby has revealed plans for a new global women’s competition, WXV, with 16 teams to compete in the three-tiered competition from 2023.

The three WXV competitions are supported by an initial £6.4 million (AUD$11.5 million) investment from World Rugby and hopes to increase competition, commercial and fan engagement opportunities while raising competitiveness of the women’s international game, according to a World Rugby statement.

The WXV competitions will take place in a new September-October global competition window every year except for Rugby World Cup years, with teams qualifying based off their finishing positions in respective annual regional competitions including the Women’s Six Nations.

To support this new competition, a new annual cross-region competition featuring Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US will be established as one of the principle qualification routes for the top tier of WXV.

To make up the WXV 1 competition, the top-tier of the new structure, the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe), and the top three teams of the cross-regional tournament will be chosen to play a cross-pool format each year in one location.

World Rugby has confirmed there will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle (2023 and 2024) of WXV 1, but the sixth-placed regional position in the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season will be relegated to WXV 3 and the top ranked regional position in the WXV 3 competition will be promoted to the WXV 2 competition.

Announcing the new competition and the dedicated Women in Rugby commercial programme supporting the announcement, World Rugby chairman, Bill Beaumont, said: “This is a landmark moment for the sport.”

“Today’s announcement of a new, global international 15s calendar will underpin the future success and accelerate the development of the women’s game.

“By establishing a unified international 15s calendar and introducing WXV we are creating a platform for the women’s international teams to compete in more consistent, competitive and sustainable competitions at regional and global level.

“At the same time, we are also growing the profile, fanbase and commercial revenue, generating opportunities for women’s rugby through the new Women in Rugby commercial programme.

“This is an ambitious, long-term commitment to make the global game more competitive, to grow the women’s game and support the expansion of Rugby World Cup to 16 teams from 2025 and beyond,” Beaumont said.

World Rugby competitions operations manager, Alison Hughes, said: “We have been working in collaboration with our member unions, regions and other key stakeholders over the past two years, developing the unified global international 15s calendar and competition offering.”

“To grow the game at elite level we need to ensure our member unions have quality, competitive and consistent playing opportunities so they can continue to develop and invest in their women’s high-performance programmes.

“As part of the international 15s calendar development we have focused on strengthening existing regional competitions and also established an exciting new cross-regional competition to increase annual playing opportunities for some of the top teams in the world where it simply did not exist before,” Hughes said.

In response to the announcement, Rugby Australia chief executive, Andy Marinos, said the new WXV global competition will increase the game’s profile and allow the Australia Buildcorp Wallaroos the chance to experience Test matches in more countries, more often.

“It is wonderful to get some certainty for our Buildcorp Wallaroos on the back of the unfortunate postponement of the 2021 RWC,” Marinos said.

“Having certainty on future competitions is important.

“I want to applaud World Rugby for making this a priority and look forward to seeing the continued growth and development in the women’s game.

“In Australia, the women’s game continues to see a double-digit growth year on year, and with our Wallaroos now playing in a regular calendar, we hope to see this as a further catalyst to engage new entrants to the game.

“The new format looks exciting and provides our women with the ability to fully engage with the opportunities and rigors of an international competition outside of our borders.

“It will put them in the strongest possible position as we look towards the 2022 and 2025 Rugby World Cup’s,” he said.

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