World Rugby has announced that Danie Craven Stadium in Stellenbosch and Athlone Stadium in Cape Town will host fixtures in the second tier of WXV, its new women’s international competition that is set to launch later this year.
It had already been confirmed that South Africa would be staging WXV 2 matches, and World Rugby has now ratified the host venues. Danie Craven Stadium and Athlone Stadium have capacities of 16,000 and 34,000, respectively.
World Rugby officially launched the WXV concept back in May, with the series designed to raise the profile and competitiveness of women’s 15s by providing a global platform between World Cups to increase the reach, impact and value of the sport.
The match schedule has now been confirmed, with 27 fixtures to be played across the three tiers over four weekends between Friday, October 13 and Saturday, November 4. A combination of standalone and double-header fixtures will be held to maximise fan attendance, with kick-off times to be scheduled to complement the men’s World Cup taking place in France at the same time.
WXV 1 will kick off on October 20 at Wellington’s Sky Stadium as England face Australia. The following day, Canada will face Wales and New Zealand will take on France.
The second round of WXV 1 matches will take place at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium, before the tournament comes to a close in Auckland at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium.
The first fixtures of WXV 2 will take place on October 13 at Danie Craven Stadium, with Italy taking on Japan and Scotland facing South Africa. USA will then play Samoa in the standalone match the following day. WXV 2 will then head to Athlone Stadium, which will host the second and third rounds of the second tier.
Dubai’s Sevens Stadium will host all WXV 3 matches, beginning with a double-header on October 13 as Fiji face Colombia and Ireland take on Kazakhstan. Spain will play Kenya the following day.
Sally Horrox, World Rugby’s chief of women’s rugby, said: “WXV represents the start of a new era for women’s rugby with the three-level tournament model providing opportunities for the best athletes around the world to show their skills on the international stage.
“We’ve seen the rapid development of the women’s game in recent years and WXV will push it to another level again. We’re really proud of the exciting array of fixtures on offer and I’ve no doubt we are in for a thrilling competition with some exhilarating matchups on the pitch set to follow. A big thank you to all our hosts.”