WXV: Scotland set for three Tests in South Africa in new annual global event

The national team will play in Cape Town in October in Tier Two of World Rugby's tournament, against opponents yet to be determined

Scotland scrum-half Mairi McDonald in action against Ireland last week. Victory confirmed a place in WXV 2 for the Scots, while Ireland will be in WXV3.
Scotland scrum-half Mairi McDonald in action against Ireland last week. Victory confirmed a place in WXV2 for the Scots, while Ireland will be in WXV3. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

SCOTLAND’s three games in Tier Two of the inaugural edition of WXV will all take place in Cape Town, South Africa, in October. Bryan Easson’s side have yet to find out who their opponents will be in the six-team division, with qualifying tournaments still to be completed.

World Rugby also confirmed some other details for the new 18-team, three-level global competition this morning, with  Tier One being held in New Zealand around the same time. The host country for Tier Three has yet to be announced.

Scotland ended their TikTok Women’s Six Nations campaign with back-t0-back wins against Italy and Ireland, and their fourth-place finish ensured their place in Tier Two. Their opponents there will include the winners of a play-off between Italy, fifth in the Six Nations, and Spain, who won the Rugby Europe tournament.

The bottom team from the Pacific Four competition – featuring New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA – will also be in Tier Two. The top three will qualify for Tier One along with England, France and Wales, the leading three from the Six Nations.

Continental competitions in Oceania, Africa and Asia will determine six more places – three in Tier Two and three in Tier Three – while a play-off between Brazil and Colombia will determine South America’s representatives in the bottom tier.

Games in the top two tiers will be run on a cross-pool format. There will be no relegation from the top tier in the first two years of the competition, which will be held annually with the exception of Rugby World Cup years. But the bottom team in Tier Two will be relegated and the winners of Tier Three promoted, while the last team in the third tier will have to play off against the team with the highest world ranking outside the competition.

The tournament will take place at the same time as the men’s World Cup, although the Tier One final has been moved into November to avoid a clash with the actual final of that competition.

A press release from World Rugby explained the thinking behind the competition:

“Starting in October 2023, WXV has a clear mission – to raise the profile and competitiveness of women’s 15s by providing the global platform between Rugby World Cups to increase the reach, impact and value of the sport, growing the game as a whole. Importantly, it will double the number of annual international fixtures for most competing teams, combining with World Rugby’s ‘Accelerate’ programme to raise standards at Rugby World Cup 2025 and beyond.”

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “We made a pledge at a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand” – held a year later because of the pandemic – “to accelerate the advancement of the women’s game. Much progress is being made at rapid pace and today we are marking another milestone with confirmation of the dates and venues for the inaugural WXV competition.

“With women and girls leading our strategy to grow the sport on a global basis, this competition will increase the reach and impact of the sport and drive the overall competitiveness of women’s international rugby as we look forward to an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup 2025 in England and subsequent Rugby World Cups in Australia in 2029 and USA in 2033.”

 

WXV

Tier One (New Zealand, 21 and 28 October, 4 November): England, France, Wales, top three from Pacific Four tournament (featuring New Zealand, Australia, Canada and USA).

Tier Two (South Africa, 14, 21 and 28 October): Scotland, Italy or Spain, fourth team from Pacific Four, winners of three continental competitions.

Tier Three (venue and dates to be confirmed): Ireland, Italy or Spain, Brazil or Colombia, runners-up from three continental competitions.

 

About Stuart Bathgate 1412 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.