RUGBY WORLD CUP 2021
Friday represents a significant milestone in the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2021, as the countdown to the first women’s edition to be played in the southern hemisphere hits the ‘one year to go’ mark.
It is a staging post that, until November 2018, Farah Palmer did not believe she would see. The three-time Rugby World Cup winner played a pivotal role in the bid process, and has since been appointed to the Rugby World Cup New Zealand 2021 Organising Committee.
However, with the majority of established women’s national teams being based in the northern hemisphere, Palmer once feared that the cost of hosting the tournament in the south would prove prohibitive.
“[RWC 2021] is another one of those moments that I never thought would happen,” she told World Rugby
IMPACT IN OCEANIA
Rugby World Cup 2021 promises to be the most anticipated women’s tournament yet, building on the success of Ireland 2017 with the exciting addition of a quarter-final stage and matches being played at three world-class venues.
“So, if we can do something to increase the profile of our Pasifika neighbours in terms of giving them the opportunity to play rugby then that would be awesome.”“We want to also acknowledge that we’ve got Pacific Island players that play a key role in New Zealand,” Palmer added. Fiji will also make their tournament debut on New Zealand’s North Island, and the event has the potential to be transformational for the Oceania region as a whole, according to Palmer.
"I hope this email finds you well."— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) November 2, 2020
How this email finds me: pic.twitter.com/Ud5p4dE9Ar
Melissa Ruscoe, who captained the Black Ferns to Rugby World Cup glory at England 2010, believes the tournament could inspire a whole generation of female rugby players in the country.
Pool stage and quarter-final matches will be played at Waitakere Stadium and Whangarei’s Northland Events Centre, while the semi-finals, bronze final and final will all be staged at Eden Park.
“It's great that World Rugby obviously looks at the big global picture and sees where support and everything is needed,” she said.
“I think it's valuable to see a pathway in any sport, and so to now have the pinnacle of women's rugby coming down here, it’ll be huge.
“I think [you’ll see] kids running around, getting autographs and all that sort of thing, which as a youngster playing sport I never had for rugby and I didn't really have for football either.