The official draw for the 2021 Women’s World Cup will take place on Friday, 20 November at the SkyCity Theatre in the heart of Auckland.
Hosted in the southern hemisphere for the first time, the ninth edition of the showcase tournament will take place from 18 September to 16 October 2021 across three match venues in New Zealand. It will be contested by 12 teams, of which nine are already confirmed.
Seven teams qualified directly for the 2021 World Cup courtesy of a top-seven finish at the last tournament in Ireland in 2017: defending champions New Zealand, runners-up England and bronze medallists France, USA, Canada, Australia and Wales.
Fiji and South Africa confirmed their places through the regional qualification process back in 2019, via the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup and Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship.
The remaining three places will be filled by a qualifier from Asia and Europe together with the winner of the Final Qualification Tournament, a first for a women’s Rugby World Cup, offering a second opportunity for teams to qualify.
For the first time, the World Rugby Women’s Rankings will be used to determine the draw seedings and bands for the seven direct qualifiers in bands one to three, with the five teams to emerge from the qualification process to be placed into band three and four.
The recent Rugby World Cup board decision for the World Rugby Women’s Rankings to be applied from 1 January 2020 represents the fairest approach. It was the last time all teams were able to play before the emergence of the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic.
The bands are:
Band 1 – New Zealand, England, Canada
Band 2 – France, Australia, USA
Band 3 – Wales, Europe 1, South Africa
Band 4 – Asia 1, Fiji, Final Qualifier winner
‘The Rugby World Cup 2021 draw marks an important milestone for teams and fans alike as momentum truly starts to build towards the most important international rugby tournament of 2021,’ World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said.
‘We are in unusual and unique times with the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic. However, working in full partnership with New Zealand Rugby and local and national authorities, we are committed to a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021.’
The full timings and broadcast details of the tournament will be confirmed at a later stage.
Photo: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images