World Rugby and New Zealand Rugby have confirmed the three venues that will host matches during the country’s staging of the 2021 Rugby World Cup.

The women’s event will be held at Waitakere Stadium in Henderson, Whangarei’s Northland Events Centre and Auckland’s Eden Park. The draw for the tournament will take place later this year.

World Rugby announced last year that it would be dropping the gender prefix from its women’s tournaments to ensure that all of its competitions have an equal billing from a brand perspective. The 2021 women’s World Cup will be the first tournament under the new model and will be known simply as Rugby World Cup 2021.

The tournament gets underway with pool matches at Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events Centre on September 18, 2021. The two venues will then host two more days of pool matches as well as the quarter-finals on October 3, before Eden Park stages the semi-finals on October 9 and the bronze match and final on October 16.

Next year’s event will mark the first edition of the women’s tournament to be held in the southern hemisphere.

World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: “Women’s rugby is the single-biggest opportunity to grow the global game, and we are confident that New Zealand 2021 will be one of the great Rugby World Cups, attracting a new fan and player base for the sport.

“RWC 2021 follows a hugely successful 2017 event in Ireland which broke attendance and broadcast records, having a hugely positive impact on women’s rugby. Last year we successfully launched ‘Try and Stop Us’, a campaign that aims to drive increased participation and engagement among fans, audiences, players and investors in the women’s game.”

Eden Park was last month confirmed as one of the host venues for the Women’s Cricket World Cup, which New Zealand will also stage in 2021.

Image: New Zealand Rugby