The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.
In a statement, World Rugby said, “While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.
“The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.
“The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.
“World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.”
Charlotte Wathan, WRU General Manager, women’s rugby said, “We’re obviously very disappointed for the players and staff who have supported the development of the programme towards RWC 2021.
“Ultimately, player welfare and public health must come first at this time. We will continue to build to ensure we are as competitive as possible when it takes place and we are sure that World Rugby, New Zealand Rugby and all the competing nations will ensure it will be one of the great Rugby World Cups.”
Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.