New Zealand has been awarded hosting rights to the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup, with four stadia across the country set to stage matches.

The tournament will take place on New Zealand’s North Island in July and August 2021. It will mark the ninth edition of the tournament and the first to be held in the southern hemisphere.

Ireland hosted the most recent Women’s Rugby World Cup last year, with New Zealand defeating England 41-32 in the final.

Matches during the 2021 tournament will be held at the 5,000-seat Waitakere Stadium in Auckland; the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei, which has a capacity of up to 20,000; the 25,000-seat Albany Stadium and Eden Park, host of the final of the 2011 men’s World Cup.

New Zealand saw off Australia in the bidding process for the tournament. England, France, Wales and Portugal had expressed an initial interest in hosting but only New Zealand and Australia submitted bids. World Rugby said both New Zealand and Australia submitted “compelling” bids.

World Rugby chair Bill Beaumont said: “Congratulations to New Zealand on being elected Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 host. They presented a very strong and compelling bid and we look forward to working with New Zealand Rugby to host a successful and inspiring tournament.

“Women’s rugby continues to grow with more than 2.4 million women and girls playing rugby at all levels, accounting for more than a quarter of players globally. With Women’s Rugby World Cup attracting record crowds and broadcast audiences in each of the last three tournaments – Ireland 2017, France 2014 and England 2010 – I am in no doubt that the 2021 tournament, the first to be held in the southern hemisphere, will continue this record-breaking trend.

“I would also like to thank Australia for their exceptional bid. We hope to welcome Australia back to bid again in the future.”

Image: World Rugby