Rugby World Cup 2021: Postponed women's tournament confirmed for autumn 2022

Women's Rugby World Cup
New Zealand will hope to repeat their 2017 victory in front of a home crowd in 2022.

The women's 2021 Rugby World Cup has been rescheduled for 8 October-12 November 2022.

World Rugby have extended the tournament to 43 days, bringing the minimum five-day rest period in line with the men's World Cup.

The 43-day window includes travel to and from New Zealand and a minimum of five days rest before the first games.

The original schedule had seen six games per matchday, but there will now be three on Saturdays and Sundays.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said the delay had provided a "unique opportunity" to revise the schedule and help deliver "comprehensive player welfare standards".

In March, World Rugby cited the "challenging Covid landscape" as the reason behind the delay to the women's showpiece tournament, originally scheduled for September this year.

The previous schedule had seen pool stage games kicking off simultaneously, including on the opening day when England against Fiji was going to start at the same time as Wales' opening fixture.

Moving the tournament further into the New Zealand spring will see warmer weather and longer daylight hours for games.

The pool games will be played on the weekends of 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 October, the quarter-finals on 29-30 October and both semi-finals on 5 November.

Venues include Auckland's Eden Park, Northlands Events Centre in Whangarei and Waitakere Stadium.

Eden Park will still host the final, now set for Saturday, 12 November, and become the first rugby stadium to host both a men's and women's Rugby World Cup final.

International Rugby Players appointee to the RWC board and former New Zealand player Melodie Robinson said: "While it's disappointing that the 2021 tournament had to be postponed, the positive is that we've been able to ensure the 2022 event and subsequent Rugby World Cups will have a minimum five-day turnaround for players.

"Just like the men's tournament, this will hopefully help to level the playing field for all sides and see an increase in competitive matches."

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