World Rugby confirmed the date for the 2021 Rugby World Cup on Tuesday.
A total of 12 teams, including South Africa, will take part in the global showpiece event in New Zealand, kicking off in about a year’s time.
The upcoming edition of the tournament is the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.
Rugby World Cup draw and seeding process
It has been revealed that the draw will take place in Auckland on Friday, 20 November.
Out of the 12 participating teams, nine have already confirmed their spots in the competition.
Seven of those qualified automatically through occupying the top spots, according to the world rankings. South Africa and Fiji, on the other hand, secured their spots through qualification in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup and Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship, respectively.
The teams will be seeded according to “Bands”, with the top seven, according to the rankings, occupying Band 1 up to Band 3, while the five others will be in Band 3 and Band 4.
World Rugby chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said the draw marks an important milestone in the build-up towards the tournament.
“We are in unusual and unique times with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. However, working in full partnership with New Zealand Rugby and local and national authorities, we are committed to a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021,” he said. “We look forward to welcoming the world’s top women’s 15s players to New Zealand and fans around the world as we look to raise the bar for women’s rugby and women in rugby in line with our important and impactful 2017-25 Women in Rugby plan.”
According to the tournament director Michelle Hooper, plans are ramping up, with the event now less than a year away.
We can’t wait to welcome all 12 teams to Aotearoa New Zealand and showcase our manaakitanga to the world. The draw will determine who will play the first matches at Eden Park and Northland Events Centre which is an exciting prospect.”
The 2021 Rugby World Cup will take place from 18 September, with the final commencing on 16 October.
The bands are:
Band 1 – New Zealand, England, Canada
Band 2 – France, Australia, USA
Band 3 – Wales, Europe 1, South Africa
Band 4 – Asia 1, Fiji, Final Qualifier winne