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Women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand postponed until 2022

Ireland have yet to qualify for the World Cup but had hoped to take their final steps towards booking their place this year.

The World Cup has been postponed.
The World Cup has been postponed.
Image: Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

WORLD RUGBY HAS confirmed that the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will be postponed until next year due to challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The game’s governing body says 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.”

Ireland have yet to qualify for the World Cup but had hoped to take their final steps towards confirming their place in the coming months.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” said IRFU director of women’s rugby, Anthony Eddy. “We want to play rugby.

“The Rugby World Cup deserves every opportunity to showcase the best that our sport has to offer and that’s not possible in the Covid-19 environment.

“We have always put player welfare at the heart of everything we do and that’s never been as important as it has over the past 12 months.

“We were preparing really well and that will stand to us now and we’ll maintain that focus into the 2021 Women’s Six Nations”

World Rugby confirmed the news only days after Auckland, the biggest city in New Zealand, re-entered lockdown for seven days after a single positive Covid-19 case was recorded there.

“World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year,” reads a statement from World Rugby.

“The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.

“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.

“The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global Covid-19 landscape.

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“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.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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