Speaking on the day of the official draw taking place in Auckland (07:15 NZT 20 November, 18:15 GMT 19 November), Beaumont, who has presided over transformation programmes to boost women in rugby at all capacities, believes that an exciting event, coupled with the Olympics, will provide a moving antidote to the global pandemic.
“The growth we’ve experienced in women’s rugby is proof of the ‘see it, be it, play it’ mantra, which is at the heart of our ambitiouss 2017-25 Women in Rugby plan to inspire participation and audience engagement across all age groups.
“New Zealand 2021, coupled with the enormous stage that the Olympics provides, will champion that mantra in a golden year for women in rugby and a year of celebration for our sport.
“New Zealand 2021 will not simply raise the bar in terms of event hosting, it will shine a bright light on the sport and its incredible players to make the statement that the rise of women in rugby is real, is powerful and is transformational.
“We are blessed with so many fantastic players and role models – a golden generation of stars, performing at the highest level of the game, who inspire females of all ages to have the confidence to get out and give rugby a try; be it for fitness, competition or fun.”
Beaumont, who is unable to attend the draw because of ongoing travel restrictions as a consequence of the pandemic, believes that New Zealand 2021, backed by the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, will raise the bar on and off the field.
“I am confident that New Zealand will be a very special and successful tournament, and preparations are on track to support my confidence. New Zealand does rugby events very well, New Zealanders love women’s rugby, and we are challenging New Zealanders to set a new attendance record.
“At the heart of the tournament will be a programme of activities and forums that will further the role of women in rugby from leadership seminars to coaching internships with the participating teams and a national programme of activities. There is lots of good work happening.”
Beaumont also believes that increasing standards on the field, coupled with the central role that the stars of the game play on social and digital media, will enable the tournament to smash all engagement records and importantly grow the sport’s fanbase around the world.
“What we have seen in recent years is the closing of the competition gap and more teams making a statement at test level. It is our role to tell the world that story, to let people see the speed, skill and success of the women’s game played at its best, by the world’s best.
“We will deliver an audience strategy that will mean that more people across more nations will be able to access Rugby World Cup 2021 through more mediums than ever before.
“Of course, free-to-air coverage by large broadcasters is key, but to really attract and engage the next generation of players and fans we need to speak to them in their tone, on their platforms, and our digital strategy will do just that – be accessible, simplify the sport and be fun.”