RWC 2021 Tournament Opening Press Conference – What You Need to Know
The RWC 2021 Tournament Opening Press Conference took place today in Auckland at The Grand – SkyCity in Auckland today, and although we could not be there in person we joined the global media online to listen and bring you the latest from the global women’s rugby event.
World Rugby was represented by lan Gilpin (World Rugby Chief Executive), Sally Horrox (World Rugby Director of Women’s Rugby), Michelle Hooper (NZR RWC 2021 Tournament Director) and Alison Hughes (World Rugby RWC 2021 Tournament Director) at the RWC 2021 tournament opening press conference, and some of the key takeaways from the RWC 2021 opening press conference are below:
Growth of Women’s Game – RWC 2021
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said that the excitement for the tournament is building and that RWC 2021 “is the first edition to be hosted in the southern hemisphere, the first in New Zealand, the first to feature Fiji, the first to feature an expanded event window and the first after the global pandemic.”
On the potential of the tournament and the growth of the women’s game, he added “This tournament will light the fuse for what will be a golden decade of opportunity, certainty and growth for women’s test rugby with three Rugby World Cups in England, Australia and USA and the launch of WXV to look forward to between the end of this tournament and 2033, driving investment and growth.”
World Rugby Director of Women’s Rugby Sally Horrox also added that “it’s clear that women’s rugby is growing in appeal and popularity and our inspirational and incredible athletes are starting to become household names.”
She continued by saying that “Women’s rugby is a cornerstone of World Rugby’s growth plan for the whole game. If we are to grow a global game for all we will need more girls and women playing, coaching, refereeing, volunteering and leading our sport.
This Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and the next three Rugby World Cups that follow have a very important role to play in this plan. These events anchor us and provide a compass to guide us as we increase our effort and investment so that we fast track growth over the next decade.”
You can also read more about the Rugby World Cup 2021 Captains Photocall and Team Welcome
Four Cornerstones of World Rugby Activity
Horrox explained the four cornerstones that the governing body would focus on in the coming years, stressing that long-term planning and investment were key.
- Profile of Rugby: The target is to grow the profile of the sport, changing perceptions and making girls’ rugby “cool, welcoming relevant and accessible. There is a need to attract younger fans and new audiences around the world and drive fans and revenue. Current players are inspirational role models and will be “at the heart of our campaigns.”
- The professional game: There will be ongoing and increased support for the professional and commercial development of the game. This includes WXV which will act as a springboard to Rugby World Cup 2025, a focus on raising standards “both on and off the pitch and support the pathway to professionalism for aspiring athletes through domestic and cross-border competitions” for 15s and for sevens.
- Growing the game: Continue working with unions and regions to “understand and develop new growth plans and pathways to accelerate the development of the game for girls.’ She added, “Rugby has something for everyone – for all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities.”
- Leadership, planning and investment: Women’s rugby is in the early stages of development. and said that for it to “grow safely, sustainably and responsibly we will need a long-term plan, increased investment and your support.
Ticket Sales RWC 2021
- RWC 2021 ticket sales for the opening day October 8th at Eden Park have reached 35,000 so it will break the record for a Womens Rugby World Cup match and for NZ women’s rugby as a new attendance record for a stand-alone women’s rugby match (and record attendance for a women’s sporting event in New Zealand.)
- It was confirmed that the New Zealand Black Ferns vs Wales match for matchday 2 is a sell-out.
- Total ticket sales for the tournament had passed 75,000 and the goal is 127,000 for the duration of RWC 2021.
Pathways and Qualifications for RWC 2025 and Beyond
- It was confirmed that for RWC 2025 in England, the host nation would automatically qualify as well as the semi-finalists from RWC 2021 – so as many as 5 teams could be confirmed by the end of this Rugby World Cup.
- Still plans to expand to 16 teams for RWC 2025 but might only happen by 2029.
- Regional and WXV competitions will be used as a pathway for teams to qualify for RWC 2025.
- The strategy is to “give teams wider and bigger opportunity to qualify for RWC by reducing automatic qualifications from RWC 2021.
Where to watch the RWC 2021
Here is the full list of where you can watch the Rugby World Cup 2021 – TV, Livestreams and more.
Rugby World Cup 2021 News
- RWC 2021 Opening Match Day – Heading For Record Crowd.
- Rugby World Cup 2021 Appoints ChildFund as Principal Charity Partner.
- ChildFund Rugby Launches Play for ImpACT Campaign.
- Japan Sakura XV Confirm RWC 2021 Squad.