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Dubai adds WXV 3 to rugby portfolio

Featured image credit: World Rugby

The Sevens Stadium in Dubai has been awarded hosting rights for the third tier of WXV, World Rugby’s new women’s international competition that is set to launch later this year.

The competition will be played across the weekends of October 14, 21 and 28 and will be contested by six teams.

Fiji, Ireland, Kazakhstan and Kenya have already confirmed their places, with two spots to be filled by the winner of the two-leg play-off between Colombia and Brazil and the loser of the play-off between Italy and Spain. The two play-offs will take place next month.

The UAE Rugby Federation will support the staging of the tournament. The Sevens Stadium is a regular host of the Emirates Dubai 7s and men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

The announcement completes the host line-up for WXV. New Zealand will host the top-tier WXV 1 across venues in Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, while Cape Town in South Africa will stage WXV 2, with a venue to be confirmed at a later date.

World Rugby had held off on finalising a host nation for WXV 3 until the line-up became clearer to maximise the attendance, reach and impact of the competition.

Sally Horrox, World Rugby’s chief of women’s rugby, said: “We are excited to confirm Dubai as host of WXV 3. We have a longstanding relationship with the fantastic team at The Sevens Stadium and we can’t wait to work closely with them again as we bring women’s rugby to our fans in Asia once more. Competition is fierce as teams compete to secure their place. We look forward to seeing who joins Fiji, Ireland, Kenya and Kazakhstan in WXV 3.”

Mohamed Sultan AlZaabi, secretary general of the UAE Rugby Federation, added: “The United Arab Emirates Rugby Federation is delighted to host the WXV 3 event. As a host of the iconic Emirates Dubai 7s, we look forward to becoming a hub for more world-level rugby events.

“This event also allows us to support the growth of women’s rugby which has seen a sharp increase and we hope it can also help inspire the next generation of players. We extend a warm welcome to all participating teams and fans, and believe we create an electrifying atmosphere that showcases the spirit of rugby in the heart of the United Arab Emirates.”

World Rugby officially launched the WXV concept last month as part of a full overhaul of the women’s international calendar starting in 2023. It is hoped WXV will raise the profile and competitiveness of women’s 15s by providing a global platform between World Cups to increase the reach of the sport.

WXV represents the first international Test competition outside World Cups. New Zealand had already been announced as the WXV 1 host and the venues were confirmed last week.

So far, England, France and Wales have secured spots in WXV 1 due to their performances in the Women’s Six Nations. They will be joined by the top three teams from this year’s World Rugby Pacific Four Series, which features Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

Japan, Samoa, Scotland and South Africa occupy four of the six spots in WXV 2, with the remaining two to be determined by the lowest placed team in the Pacific Four Series and the winner of the Italy-Spain play-off.