The World Rugby Pacific Four Series 2023 will head to Ottawa in July as the race to qualify for the top tier of WXV comes to a conclusion at TD Place.
For the first time since 2015, Canada will host a major women’s test series on 8 July when the USA play Australia and the home side take on Rugby World Cup 2021 winners New Zealand.
Six days later, the Black Ferns conclude their Pacific Four Series campaign against the Women’s Eagles before Canada play Australia.
This year’s Pacific Four Series got underway in Madrid at the start of April, Canada running in eight tries to beat North American rivals USA 50-17 at Estadio Nacional Universidad Complutense.
Canada therefore lead the standings on five points, but Australia and defending champions New Zealand will have the opportunity to close the gap when they meet at Kayo Stadium in Brisbane on 29 June. The tournament will then head to Ottawa the following week.
Whoever finishes in the top three of the Pacific Four Series following the final round of action at TD Place will take their place in the top tier of WXV when it kicks off later this year.
Those teams will be joined by the top three teams in the Women’s Six Nations 2023 for the first two editions of the new annual global tournament.
The fourth-placed team in this year’s Pacific Four Series, meanwhile, will slot into WXV 2 alongside two teams from Europe and regional qualification winners from Africa, Asia and Oceania.
Canada coach Kevin Rouet, who signed a contract extension until the end of Rugby World Cup 2025 last week, said: “I am very excited for the opportunity to play against New Zealand and Australia on home soil in Ottawa this July.
“As a team, we have enjoyed some recent success with our win over the USA in Spain earlier this month and look forward to the chance to test ourselves against two of the best teams in the world.
“This programme has a bright future and these games in Ottawa represent a significant step forward as we begin our journey to Rugby World Cup 2025.
“These games offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase our sport to all the women and girls in the country. Myself and all the players can’t wait to show Canadians what this team can do.”
Australia will warm-up for the Pacific Four Series with a test against Fiji in Sydney on 20 May.
“There’s such a wealth of opportunity for the Wallaroos this year, with more matches, more resources and more competition,” Australia coach Jay Tregonning said.
“With an expanded coaching staff and the first ever full-time Wallaroos Head of Athletic Performance at the helm, we’re raring to get stuck in.
“We are looking forward to building upon the outstanding determination and grit that the Wallaroos displayed last year. Since then, the coaches have had time to review areas of inconsistency and the players have a year of international matches under their belt – it’s going to be an exciting 2023 season.”