World Rugby announces new dates for 2021 Rugby World Cup

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 20: The Women's Rugby World Cup and ball on display during the Rugby World Cup 2021 Draw event at the SKYCITY Theatre on November 20, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images )

The 2021 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will take place between October 8 and November 12, 2022, World Rugby announced, following a revision of the tournament’s dates.

FILE PHOTO: The Women’s Rugby World Cup and ball on display during the Rugby World Cup 2021 Draw event at the SKYCITY Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images )

The tournament had initially been scheduled to take place between September 18 and October 16 but was moved due to challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament’s window will also increase from 35 to 43 days – including five days ahead of the first match – and feature five-day minimum rest periods for all teams to prioritise player welfare. World Rugby said that decision aligned with the approach recently approved for the men’s competition.

All matches will be played during the weekend with no overlaps, with three consecutive matches being scheduled for each day. The original schedule would have seen six games being played per matchday with pool matches kicking off simultaneously.

World Rugby said they revamped the playing schedule to ensure fans “will not miss a moment of the first women’s edition of a Rugby World Cup to be hosted in the southern hemisphere.”

The pool phase will be played on the weekends of 8/9, 15/16 and 22/23 October at Eden Park, Northlands Events Centre in Whangārei and Waitakere Stadium. The quarterfinals will take place on October 29-30 and both semifinals on November 5.

The bronze final and RWC 2021 final will be played on November 12 at Eden Park, which will become the first stadium to host both the men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup finals.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont reiterated the governing body’s commitment to accelerating the women’s game at all levels and delivering an outstanding Rugby World Cup for players, fans and the host nation.

“I would like to thank all stakeholders for their support and open-minded approach to this process and we can now look forward to a truly spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021, playing in 2022,” Beaumont said.

South Africa and Kenya will be Africa’s representatives at the event.

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