The Springbok Women’s team has been drawn in Pool C alongside England, France and Fiji for next year’s World Rugby Cup in New Zealand.
For the first time in the history of the women’s tournament, the draw for the 12-team tournament was based on seedings. The top seven teams from the 2017 World Cup — New Zealand, England, Australia, the United States, France, Australia and Wales — qualified automatically while five others have or will advance through qualifying tournaments to be played this year.
Teams were placed in four bands which were based on world rankings at 1 January this year.
The draw took place at a ceremony in Auckland on Thursday, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as well as former All Black Dan Carter in attendance.
Pool A will see defending champions New Zealand go up against Australia, Wales and the winner of the final qualifying tournament.
The United States and Canada were drawn in Pool B with the winner of the European and Asian qualifiers which have yet to be played.
England and France are joined in Pool C by Fiji, who won an Oceania qualifying tournament, and South Africa who qualified through an African regional event.
The tournament will be played from 18 September to 16 October in Auckland and Whangārei next year.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, who watched the draw from London because of travel restrictions, said the tournament would be an inspiration to young players, male and female.
‘The growth we’ve experienced in women’s rugby is proof of the ‘see it, be it, play it’ mantra which is at the heart of our ambitious 2017-25 Women in Rugby plan to inspire participation and audience engagement across all age groups,’ Beamont said.
‘New Zealand 2021, coupled with the enormous stage that the Olympics provides, will champion that mantra in a golden year for women in rugby and a year of celebration for our sport.’
Photo: World Rugby