Rugby World Cup 2025 set to break new ground as tournament expands to 16 teams

World Rugby has confirmed that the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup will expand to 16 teams from 2025 onwards.
  • Women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup to increase from 12 to 16 teams from 2025 onwards
  • Decision directly delivers against core pillar of the transformational women’s rugby strategic plan 2017-25
  • Future RWC host selection process opens in February 2021 and will conclude in May 2022 with a Council vote
  • World Rugby Council has approved a progressive host selection awarding process featuring a risk-based evaluation and open, published vote

World Rugby has confirmed that the women’s edition of the Rugby World Cup will expand to 16 teams from 2025 onwards.

The landmark decision, taken by the Rugby World Cup Board earlier this year, reflects World Rugby’s commitment to accelerating development of the women’s game globally through its transformational women’s strategic plan 2017-25.

With women’s rugby interest and participation going from strength to strength, the decision supports a core pillar of the plan in increasing the global competitiveness of women’s international rugby, providing the opportunity for more teams to be more competitive on the biggest stages.

Women’s rugby has experienced record growth in recent years, with women and girls now accounting for 28% of the global playing population.  

Interest in Rugby World Cup hosting continues to grow ahead of the formal process beginning in February 2021 and today’s announcement follows recent confirmation of key elements relation to the evaluation, publication and voting process for the 2025 and 2029 editions, which will be awarded at the same time as the men’s in May 2022.

Rugby World Cup continues to go from strength to strength and New Zealand 2021 is set to feature a host of exciting new format changes which prioritise player welfare and event promotion.

Click HERE to read more on RWC Future Hosting process>>

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said “Women’s rugby is the single greatest opportunity to grow the sport globally. In 2017 we set out an ambitious eight-year plan to accelerate the development of women in rugby, with a core pillar focussing on high-performance competition and an ambition to improve and expand the number of teams competing in pinnacle events. We have seen in recent years that more teams are making a statement at international level and unions are continuing to develop their women’s high-performance programmes.

“This is a milestone moment for the women’s game, expansion of the Rugby World Cup opens additional aspirational and inspirational playing pathway opportunities for unions at the highest level of the game and creates added incentive for unions worldwide to continue to invest and grow in their women’s programmes.”

Last updated: Nov 30, 2020, 11:57:01 AM
Cayman Islands Rugby Club girls camp
News Women's women-news-regions Women in Rugby
Ex-England star Mercedes Foy supports Cayman Islands girls at start of rugby journey
Foy, who now works as a teacher on the Cayman Islands, led a two-day rugby camp for more than 100 girls in December.
Ireland v Wales - Guinness Six Nations
News Women's Feature Tournament News Women in Rugby women-news-classic
Ireland v Wales: How big is this rugby rivalry? Where is it played? And who wins it?
Ahead of the Six Nations 2021, we look at one of the fiercest rugby rivalries in the test arena: Ireland v Wales.
Italy Women v England Women - Womens Six Nations
News Women's Feature Tournament News Women in Rugby Women-news-coach women-news-regions
Katy Daley-Mclean “overwhelmed” by reaction to England retirement
Daley-Mclean, who was picked at fly-half in the World Rugby Women’s 15s Team of the Decade, looks back on her trophy-laden career in international rugby.
Angela del Pan at Rugby World Cup 2017
News Women's Feature Tournament News women-news-power Women in Rugby
Angela del Pan: Retention key to growth of women’s rugby in Spain
The World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship recipient and former Spain international discusses her hopes for the future of the game in the Iberian country.
World Rugby logo - one to use for generic releases
News women-news-regions mz-advisory Women in Rugby
World Rugby reveals interim findings of independent-led governance review
World Rugby continues to move towards progressive governance reform after its Council endorsed a package of interim recommendations by the independent-led Governance Working Group.
Photo of Madagascan referee and World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship recipient Ando Niaina Herimahefa
News Women's women-news-power Women in Rugby
Ando Niaina Herimahefa: The pioneer working to drive women's rugby in Madagascar
Young referee and World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship recipient Ando Niaina Herimahefa has recently been entrusted with the task of developing women's rugby in Madagascar with the support of Rugby Africa. As she tells World Rugby, it's a mission she intends to take on with everything she has.
France v England - Guinness Six Nations
News Women's Tournament News Women in Rugby
Six Nations 2021: All you need to know about this year’s tournament
Your guide to the international tournament, who is playing, where to watch, what’s already happened and what more we can expect.
Rasika Thilangani Warakagoda with Sri Lanka women's team
News Women's Feature women-news-power Women in Rugby women-news-regions
Rasika Warakagoda: A mother figure to Sri Lanka’s women in rugby
The World Rugby Women’s Executive Leadership Scholarship recipient discusses her decade in the game.
Photo of Brazil Rugby CEO Mariana Miné
News Women's Men's Feature women-news-power Women in Rugby
Brazil heading into new era with appointment of first female CEO
The new CEO of Brazil Rugby, Mariana Miné speaks to World Rugby about what drove her to the job: the passion and values of the game in one of the world's biggest countries.
Deneka Borden Bermuda
News Women's Feature Women in Rugby women-news-regions
Hard work behind Deneka Borden’s inspirational return to international rugby
Four years on from the accident that almost left her paralysed, the Bermuda women’s sevens player discusses the journey she took back to the international sevens circuit.