WORLD RUGBY has unveiled a new three-tiered global fifteens tournament called WXV, which will see 16 sides in total from the Northern and Southern Hemispheres face off against each other on an annual basis (apart from World Cup years), from 2023 onwards.
Teams will qualify annually for WXV based on their finishing positions within their respective annual regional competitions, such as the Women’s Six Nations.
In order to qualify for the top-tier competition – to be called called WXV1 – Scotland will have to finish in the top three of the Six Nations, which they have not managed to do since 2005.
The structure of the new tournament will be as follows:
Consisting of six teams and played in a cross-pool format, at a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.
Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams of a new cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA. Each team will play three matches.
There will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle of WXV 1.
Consisting of six teams, playing in a cross-pool format, as a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.
Participating teams for 2023 will include two teams from Europe, the fourth-placed team from the cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA alongside one team each from Oceania, Asia and Africa.
The sixth-placed regional position in the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season will be relegated to WXV 3.
Hosted in one venue as a round-robin format and will consist of four teams with the winner and rankings determined by a points table. Participating teams will include two teams from Europe, one team from Asia and the winner of an Africa versus South America play-off.
The top ranked regional position in the WXV 3 competition will be promoted to the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season.
A play-off between the fourth-ranked team and next best ranked team from the World Rugby Women’s Rankings will determine regional position for the next year.
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“Supported by an initial £6.4 million World Rugby investment, the three WXV competitions will feature 16 teams and will be hosted within a new September-October global competition window, except in a Rugby World Cup year,” said a statement from World Rugby.
“World Rugby has also announced that the competition programme will be supported by a dedicated Women in Rugby commercial programme that sets out to actively further profile, engagement and sustainable growth, driving revenue back into the development of the game, supporting another key objective of the Women in Rugby Plan 2017-25.”
This year’s Six Nations is due to be played next month in a new format consisting of two pools of three, with each team playing off against the team in the corresponding position of the opposite pool to determine final ranking. Scotland have been drawn in a pool with England and Italy.