World Rugby Announces WXV – A new annual global women’s 15s competition

Competition will be hosted in a new September-October global competition window, except in a Rugby World Cup year.

Original article – Rugby Canada

March 16, 2021 – Langford, BC: Earlier today, World Rugby announced a new sixteen-team, three-tier women’s global competition set to begin in 2023.  The competition, WXV, will be supported by an initial £6.4 million World Rugby investment and will be hosted within a new September-October global competition window, except in a Rugby World Cup year.

Teams will qualify annually into the WXV competitions courtesy of their finishing positions within the respective existing annual regional competitions, such as the Women’s Six Nations. These regional competitions, played within a new regional window, must be completed by June each year.

To support the implementation of the WXV competitions, a new annual cross-region competition will be established which will act as one of the principle qualification routes for the top tier of WXV.  This will feature Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA. This represents a huge step forward, providing a regular annual international competition for these teams, where previously there was none.

Canada’s Women’s Rugby Team, currently ranked #3 in the world, will compete to earn qualification into WXV 1, the top tier.  WXV 1 will consist of six teams and be played in a cross-pool format, at a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.  Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams of the cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA (Oceania/Rugby Americas North (RAN)).  Each team will play three matches.  There will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle of WXV 1.

To view a video explaining how WXV will work, click HERE

Canada head coach Sandro Fiorino said, “We’re very excited with today’s announcement of WXV.  It’s a competition that we’ve been working collaboratively on with World Rugby for a number of years and it’s outstanding to see it come to fruition.  This really will be a game changer for women’s rugby both here in Canada and globally.”

Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen said, “This is a massive announcement for women’s rugby.  The WXV competition will help showcase the top women’s 15s players in the world, including our Canadian women, while helping grow our sport in developing nations.  I’m incredibly excited for WXV to kick-off in 2023 with global exposure and new commercial opportunities.”

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “This is a landmark moment for the sport. Today’s announcement of a new, global international 15s calendar will underpin the future success and accelerate the development of the women’s game.”

Beaumont added, “By establishing a unified international 15s calendar and introducing WXV we are creating a platform for the women’s international teams to compete in more consistent, competitive and sustainable competitions at regional and global level. At the same time, we are also growing the profile, fanbase and commercial revenue, generating opportunities for women’s rugby through the new Women in Rugby commercial programme.”

To view the full World Rugby release on WXV, please click HERE