New Zealand will host the 2021 Rugby World Cup for women from September 18th through October 16th, 2021 and it will be the first time that the event has been held in the Southern Hemisphere. It is the ninth iteration of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, although, starting in 2021 there will no longer be gender designations and all World Cup tournaments going forward will be officially called the “Rugby World Cup” with only the year inscribed. Years from now fans will have to research which gender is associated with which Rugby World Cup title.
Hong Kong will be hosting the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship, originally scheduled for 2020 but has shifted due to the global pandemic. This will serve as the qualifier for the Rugby World Cup 2021 and will feature Hong Kong, Kazakstan, and Japan with the winner being placed into Pool B along with the United States, Canada, and Europe 1.
The health, safety, and welfare of the athletes is paramount and Asia Rugby President, Mr. Qais Al Dhalai stated, “We are very excited about the Return of Rugby across Asia, some of our unions have already kicked off their domestic tournaments and it’s the time now for international rugby as well.
“Asia Rugby is fully committed to the health and safety of players, fans, and everyone working on the events which will always be our top priority and will keep monitoring the region’s health situation closely to implement the ideal protocols. As always, Asia Rugby will ensure that it’s longstanding guiding principles of Equality, Transparency, and Accountability in all aspect of the game are fully exercised across the region”
Mr. Qais Al Dhalai further stated, “Asia Rugby has also explored various innovative opportunities aiming at serving its member unions and fans in the forms of Beach Rugby, and Snow Rugby.”
The qualifying stage is being covered by the best sportsbooks and those who follow women’s rugby will have an opportunity to make money on their opinions. There are also European qualifiers to consider but those plans have been derailed to early 2021.
RugbyWorldCup.com issued the following release: “World Rugby and Rugby Europe have taken the decision to postpone the Rugby World Cup 2021 European qualification tournament that was scheduled to take place on 5, 12 and 19 December.
“The tournament is due to feature Ireland, Italy, and Scotland and the winner of the postponed Rugby Europe Women’s Championship.
“With the COVID-19 situation in Europe presenting continued travel and quarantine challenges for some teams, the decision was made to postpone and identify an optimal opportunity for the tournament to be rescheduled in early 2021.
“World Rugby and Rugby Europe continue to consult with unions and Six Nations Rugby Limited regarding a window that provides a fair opportunity to deliver the Europe qualifier, with the winner qualifying directly for Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand. The runner-up will progress to the Final Qualification Tournament to be held in 2021.
“An announcement regarding the rescheduling of the tournament will be confirmed in due course.”
HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series on Ice…for Now
Covid-19 has waylaid another sporting event and this time it is the HSBC World Rugby Seven Series which won’t return to a full schedule until 2022. But the international banking concern, HSBC, won’t flee in bad times and has decided to remain true to the event and continue to support the federation when it needs it the most.
Jonathan Castleman, HSBC Group Head of Brand & Brand Partnerships, released the following in a prepared statement, “With Tokyo on the horizon and the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series set to return, rugby sevens will once again take its place at the pinnacle of global sport and serve as a reminder of its ability to bring us together. We remain a committed partner of the fans, players, coaches, and stakeholders at the heart of this great sport and stand ready to help it build back stronger than ever in 2021 and beyond.”
Castleman also stated, “We look forward to returning to a full HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2022 to drive the sport forwards and build on the increased interest and awareness that will be created by the Olympic rugby sevens in 2021.”