2021 World Cup in New Zealand to be postponed for one year

Challenges related to Covid forced World Rugby to make the decision to push the global women's tournament back

Rugby World Cup 2021 has been postponed for one year. Image: ©Craig Watson
Rugby World Cup 2021 has been postponed for year. Image: ©Craig Watson

THE 2021 World Cup is to be postponed until next year as a response to the challenges posed by Covid. The global women’s tournament was supposed to be played in New Zealand between 18th September and 16th October of this year, but will be pushed back to 2022 subject to approval by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee when they meet on 8th and 9th March respectively.

Scotland’s involvement in the tournament depended on them progressing from a qualifying process which has been postponed from last year and was due to take place at some, yet to be decided, point in the next few months.

“While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family,” said a statement issued by World Rugby this [Tuesday] evening.


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“The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.

“The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.

“World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.

“Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.”

A statement from Scottish Rugby said: “Scottish Rugby is naturally disappointed with the news and we await further update following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meeting on 8th and 9th March.

“Scotland Women’s focus now turns to preparing for the upcoming Six Nations tournament in April.”


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David Barnes
About David Barnes 2349 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.