A “landmark” global women’s rugby union competition has been launched by the sport’s international governing body.
World Rugby is investing £6.4m in the WXV tournament, due to begin in 2023.
The competition will have three tiers, offering consistent international Test-match opportunities to 16 teams to help them prepare for the 2025 World Cup.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont hailed a “landmark moment” and said the plan would “accelerate the development of the women’s game”.
The announcement comes a week after the 2021 World Cup – for which three teams are yet to qualify because of postponements caused by the coronavirus pandemic – was pushed back to 2022.
The WXV competition will be played in a global window from September to October, except in World Cup years.
World Rugby says the aim of the tournament is to help teams prepare for a 2025 World Cup that will feature 16 teams – an expansion on the usual 12.
How will WXV work?
Regional competitions, like the Women’s Six Nations, must be completed by June each year and will determine qualification for WXV.
A competition featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA will also be established as a qualification route for the top tier of WXV.
WXV 1, the top tier, will involve six teams in two pools playing three matches against teams in the other pool at a standalone tournament in a location that may change yearly. Final placings will be determined by a…