World Rugby has taken a further step in their pursuit to boost women’s rugby, announcing a new annual global 15s competition model on Tuesday, 16 March 2021.

The competition will be supported by a dedicated Women in Rugby commercial programme, which sets out to actively further profile, engagement and sustainable growth and driving revenue back into the development of the game.

“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,” said World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont in the official media release.

Women’s Advisory Committee Chairman, Serge Simon said: “This is momentous for the women’s 15s game.”

“The new global 15s calendar will enable unions to plan long-term while also increasing quality competition opportunities.” – Women’s Advisory Committee Chairman, Serge Simon

“As part of the women’s strategic plan, we are committed to delivering world-class high-performance programmes that will produce inspirational results for the women’s game. The new global 15s calendar will enable unions to plan long-term while also increasing quality competition opportunities.”

The three WXV competitions, supported by an initial £6.4 million World Rugby investment, will feature 16 teams and will be hosted between the September-October global window.

Teams will qualify annually into the WXV competitions courtesy of their finishing positions within the respective existing annual regional competitions, such as the Women’s Six Nations. These regional competitions, played within a new regional window, must be completed by June each year.

To support the implementation of the WXV competitions, a new annual cross-region competition will be established which will act as one of the principle qualification routes for the top tier of WXV. This will feature Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA.

 

WXV 1

The WXV competition 1 will consist of six teams and be played in a cross-pool format, at a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.

Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams of the cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA (Oceania/Rugby Americas North (RAN)). Each team will play three matches.

There will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle of WXV 1.

 

WXV 2

The WXV 2 competition will consist of six teams, playing in a cross-pool format, as a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.

Participating teams for 2023 will include two teams from Europe, the fourth-placed team from the cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA (Oceania/RAN) alongside one team from Oceania, Asia and Africa.

The sixth-placed regional position in the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season will be relegated to WXV 3.

 

WXV 3

WXV 3 will be hosted in one venue as a round-robin format and will consist of four teams with the winner and rankings determined by a points table. Participating teams will include two teams from Europe, one team from Asia and the winner of an Africa v South America play-off.

The top ranked regional position in the WXV 3 competition will be promoted to the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season.

A play-off between the fourth-ranked team and next best ranked team from the World Rugby Women’s Rankings will determine regional position for the next year.

 

Photo 1 Caption: World Rugby has taken a further step in their pursuit to boost women’s rugby, announcing a new annual global 15s competition model on Tuesday, 16 March 2021. Photo: World Rugby website