After many years of dominance on the field, finally, the Women’s Rugby World Champions are to finally host the World Cup tournament, in their backyard of New Zealand.
Set to host the 2021 tournament, it was the honour of former-Black Ferns captain Dr Farah Palmer (see main picture) to lead the New Zealand Rugby campaign to host the pinnacle event. She, and fellow NZ Rugby board member Mark Robinson made final presentations yesterday, before World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont announced the winning bid.
Coincidentally, the decision is timed perfectly, with Ireland [home of World Rugby headquarters] hosting New Zealand in the most anticipated head-to-head of the November Internationals.
The dignified process was in stark contest to the fiercely contested 2023 men’s Rugby World Cup hosting rights bidding process, in the Women’s quad-annual tournament hosting process, everything was clear and respectful. New Zealand and Australia the major competing rugby-nations, who each were clear in their campaigns, with a conscientious delivery and lack of lobbying for votes (that was very different to the men’s round of voting).
And now, with the New Zealand bid successful, expect the rugby world to get fully in behind the five-time World Champions, and their values-based tournament philosophy.
New Zealand to host Women's Rugby World Cup 2021
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) November 14, 2018
Women’s Rugby World Champions to finally host Cup tournament
Since the first Women’s tournament was held in 1991, and over its history, no team from the Southern hemisphere has hosted the event. New Zealand; rightly now, can claim to hold that record (as they have a hand on most others). It seems only natural, that for the game to expand into wider markets, then the most recognized nation
Dr Farah Palmer is delighted that New Zealand has been awarded the hosting rights for this pinnacle women’s rugby event and acknowledges the critical role of the New Zealand Government in supporting this bid,
“We are honoured and excited to be awarded the WRWC2021 and look forward to delivering the first Women’s Rugby World Cup tournament in the Southern Hemisphere.
“The New Zealand Government strongly supported the bid, with backing from MBIE, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Whangarei District Council.
— RNZ Sport (@RNZSport) November 14, 2018
Dr Farah Palmer went on to say in an NZR media release; “We are looking forward to working together to deliver a world-class tournament for players, officials, fans, commercial partners and spectators watching around the world.”
New Zealand host cities to showcase classic Kiwi grassroots rugby
Auckland and Whangarei have been confirmed as the host cities, and this will be the first time that the WRWC has been played in the Southern Hemisphere. Under the plan, matches will be played at North Harbour Stadium, Waitakere Stadium and the Northland Events Centre.
Pool games and hosting cities will look to display the classic Kiwi grassroots rugby values, that the New Zealand bid was founded on. Welcoming teams into the regions, with close contact with local rugby clubs and in meeting the community.
Over the pool games, teams will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, prior to the knockout stages. Then the matches will be played at Eden Park, for the semifinal and Women’s Rugby World Cup final.
While local fans might anticipate the Women’s Rugby World Champions featuring in the later stages of the tournament, the competition is improving every year. And with two full seasons to develop, the likelihood of fresh challenges to the Black Ferns excites Farah Palmer, and will bring an excitement and great appreciation of the sport in 2021.
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images