Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington have been selected as the host cities for WXV 1 later this year as the world’s top teams return to New Zealand a year on from a record-breaking Rugby World Cup.
Last year Wales played three games at the Northland Events Centre, in Whangarei, and fist met the Black Ferns at Auckland’s Waitahere Stadium. In October, they will get their first taste of action in the New Zealand capital, Wellington, and in the south island.
The world’s top six international women’s rugby teams will play across nine Tests during the tournament from 20 October to 4 November, with each match weekend venue hosting a standalone Friday night match followed by a Saturday double-header.
Thee grounds selected will be the Sky Stadium, in Wellington (34,500), the Forsyth Barr Stadium, in Dunedin (30,748), and the Go Metro Stadium, in Auckland (30,000).
The nationwide celebration of women’s international rugby, WXV 1 will kick-off at Sky Stadium in Wellington (Friday 20-21 October) before moving south to Dunedin (27-28 October), then on to Auckland where the tournament winner will likely be decided at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart (3-4 November).
The tournament will feature England, France, and Wales, who will be joined by the top three sides from the Pacific Four Series, which will be contested between reigning World Cup champions the Black Ferns, Australia, USA, and Canada, resuming on 29 June in Brisbane. The match schedule will be announced in due course.
An announcement regarding the venue for WXV 2 in Cape Town and WXV 3 will be made shortly.
“We are thrilled to head to Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington for WXV 1 and to Cape Town in South Africa for WXV 2 as we push forward with our planning for the inaugural tournament alongside our hosts, New Zealand Rugby and South Africa Rugby,” said World Rugby’s Chief of Women’s Rugby, Sally Horrox.
“In New Zealand, from the get-go, we were committed to ensuring the tournament travelled to both the North and South Islands, showcasing some of the top teams in the world across the country and we can’t wait to see the players and the fans back watching international rugby this October.”
WXV is being supported by partners Mastercard, Capgemini and Gallagher, with World Rugby also injecting multi-million pound investment funding over an initial two-year period in the sprint to an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup 2025 in England.
“Fans across the world are going to be watching WXV 1 and watching Aotearoa and it’s an absolute privilege to have talented wāhine from the top six teams in the world playing across our country” said former Black Ferns captain and New Zealand Rugby Board deputy chair, Dame Farah Palmer said.
“Last year’s Rugby World Cup gave New Zealanders a taste of how thrilling and exciting the women’s game is, and now we have the chance to showcase these world-class athletes across our country.
“We hope to see fans re-ignite the passion they showed for rugby and women’s sport during the Rugby World Cup and to re-create the unique and exciting atmosphere that captured the imagination of the rugby world.”