It may be a year late but fear not, Rugby World Cup 2021 – Played in 2022 – is here! The planet’s best women’s teams have descended on New Zealand with the aim of leaving as World Champions.
With the hosts kicking off the ninth edition of the tournament as defending champions, you can be sure to expect a big home challenge for the title this year. Chief among the contenders will be England’s Red Roses, who come off the back of a world record 25 test victories in a row. Will the side led by Sarah Hunter avenge that defeat in the 2017 final?
It’s also a huge tournament for Rugbystore interests with no less than three of our athletes in action for Scotland this Autumn. So, without further ado, here’s everything you need to know ahead of RWC 2021.
Who is Playing?
12 teams have qualified for the Finals, confirming their place through a combination of past RWC performances, regional qualification, and the final repecharge tournament – hosted back in February.
In Pool A, hosts New Zealand are joined by their Trans-Tasman rivals Australia as the pool’s two strongest sides. While the Black Ferns have home advantage, the recent success of the Wallaroos at the RWC 7s will give the nation confidence. Elsewhere, Wales will hope to see their newly-contracted squad flourish and Scotland will be ready to defy expectations and cause an upset in their first tournament appearance since 2010.
Over in Pool B, an intriguing All-American match-up between Canada and the USA suggests that topping the pool is anyone’s game. Italy impressed in the TikTok Six Nations with two wins so they could feature in the knock out stages. Finally, Japan will target an improvement on their 11th place finish in 2017.
Finally, Pool C features a straight shoot out between old rivals England and France with both expected to qualify comfortably for the quarter finals. South Africa return to the world stage after failing to qualify in 2017 and Fiji make their very first appearance in the tournament.
When are they Playing?
How Can I Follow the RWC?
Bad news for Europe-based fans: most matches will be in the middle of the night. But whether you’re staying up for a late night or setting that early alarm call, UK supporters can watch all games via ITV and the ITV Hub. Fear not though if you value your sleep – full highlights packages are expected post-match too.
We’ll have regular updates on the fortunes of our athletes over on Instagram (@rugbystore.co.uk) so be sure to follow us over there as well.
Who Should I Watch?
We couldn’t give you a few players to watch without highlighting our fantastic Rugbystore Athletes in action.
Prolific try scorer Rhona Lloyd will be ready to make a statement on the world stage. Don’t be surprised to see the winger high up the try scoring charts by the end of the tournament.
Bringing some structure to the back line will be Hawick’s very own Lisa Thomson. As a pivotal playmaker alongside former Blog contributor Helen Nelson, she’ll be helping distribute some quality ball out wide for Lloyd to utilise.
In the pack, Emma Wassell will continue to make her unwavering presence felt; adding to her 57 caps at second row.
Around the other nations, expect Portia Woodman to continue her amazing try scoring record of 27 scores in 19 tests. If England are to march towards the final, they’ll need the reliable kicking of Zoe Harrison to keep the side on track.
Is your Sweepstake Back?
It sure is! After its overwhelming success in previous RWCs, for the first time at a women’s edition, we’ve produced our famous sweepstake kit for you to compete with friends, family or colleagues.
Where can I get the Stash?
Sadly not all replica women’s shirts are available for sale – something we hope will change by 2025 – but we have a great selection of supporters clothing for all the major teams. Check out our dedicated Rugby World Cup 2021 landing page here.
Are you ready for RWC 2021? Let us know who you’re supporting on our social media channels and whatever you do, get behind your nation this Autumn!