The Springbok Women will play the Rugby World Cup opening match against France in front of a record 40,000 sell-out crowd at Eden Park on Saturday.
Tickets to the opening match day of Rugby World Cup 2021 have sold out with a record-breaking crowd set to fill New Zealand’s national stadium at Eden Park on 8 October.
The ninth edition of the tournament is shaping up as comfortably the biggest, with Auckland’s famed rugby venue confirmed to be at its temporary capacity for a triple-header of matches.
The previous biggest crowd for a women’s rugby Test was 20,000 at the 2014 World Cup final in Paris.
The opening World Cup game on Saturday pits France against South Africa, before Six Nations champions England face Fiji. The last game of the day sees the hosts and defending champions New Zealand play Australia.
About 40,000 will watch the first of 26 tournament matches involving 12 teams, with Eden Park’s capacity having been reduced by about 5,000 to cater for opening ceremony entertainment.
“Women in sport and women’s rugby has a real buzz and momentum behind it right now,” said World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin.
“The development of women in rugby is the single greatest opportunity for our sport to grow in the next decade, as we plan to accelerate the phenomenal rise of women in rugby on a global basis.”
Kick-off for Saturday’s opener between South Africa and France is at 3am South African time.
Photo: Tom Dulat/Getty Images