The first opportunity for a team to qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 through the regional qualification route will take place at the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 9-17 August, 2019.
In April this year World Rugby announced details of a new qualification pathway for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 whereby non-qualified teams will compete in new and existing regional tournaments.
Regional tournaments will be hosted in Oceania, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America with the final opportunity for teams to qualify being through the new repechage tournament, which will be held in 2020.
A brand-new competition, the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup will be held at the Bosman Stadium in Johannesburg on 9, 13 and 17 August, with the first match-day of the tournament marking National Women’s Day in South Africa.
The competition will see hosts South Africa, Kenya, Madagascar and Uganda play three games each in a round-robin format where the winner will directly qualify for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.
Women’s international rugby has a new team with Madagascar set to enter the test arena in Johannesburg as they’ll make their play their test match debut against Kenya on day one.
Hosted in New Zealand, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 will be the first time that the women’s tournament has been held in the southern hemisphere. After winning the 2017 event in Ireland, New Zealand will be looking to defend the title on home soil.
The top seven teams from Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017 – New Zealand, England, USA, France, Canada, Australia and Wales – have already secured automatic qualification for the 2021 competition.
Last weekend saw the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship Division I title claimed by Kazakhstan who have been promoted to the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship and will join Japan and Hong Kong in playing at the highest level of the women’s game in the region on 2020.
Promotion to the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship also keeps their dream of appearing at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 alive as the winner of that tournament will qualify for the game’s flagship event in New Zealand.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “As the first opportunity to qualify directly through the regional tournaments, the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup signifies a very exciting point in the journey towards Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.
“Introducing these regional tournaments into the qualification pathway for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 increases the level of competition in the women’s game and allows us to engage more fans in the game worldwide.”
World Rugby is dedicated to growing the women’s game and recently launched a new ‘Women in Rugby’ brand identity and global campaign ‘Try and Stop Us’, aimed at driving increased participation and engagement among fans, audiences, players and investors in the women’s game.
Women’s rugby is one of sport’s great success stories, experiencing unprecedented growth around the world. Participation levels are at an all-time high with 2.7 million players globally – making up more than a quarter of the global playing population – and a 28 per cent increase in registered players since 2017.
Rugby Africa Women’s Cup fixtures:
Bosman stadium, Brakpan, Johannesburg, South Africa
All times local time (GMT+2)
9 August, 2019
Madagascar vs Kenya, KO 13:00
South Africa vs Uganda, KO 15:00
13 August, 2019
Kenya vs Uganda, KO 13:00
Madagascar vs South Africa, KO: 15:00
17 August, 2019
Madagascar vs Uganda, KO: 13:00
South Africa vs Kenya, KO: 15:00
Where to watch:
All games will be live streamed via the following link: https://livestream.com/baruchmedia/WomensRugby
Stay up to date on social media by following @RugbyAfrique