Today marks the start of the Rugby World Cup 2021 Trophy Tour which kicks off in Auckland, New Zealand – the home of the iconic Eden Park where the opening match day will be staged on 8 October, 2022.
Twelve of the world’s top women’s international teams will gather in New Zealand for the pinnacle tournament in women’s 15s rugby which culminates on 12 November when the winning team will be crowned champions.
Today’s date also celebrates 31 years to the day since the very first women’s Rugby World Cup on 6 April, 1991. In a significant step to recognise those involved in the 1991 and 1994 tournaments, World Rugby is adding the winners to the trophy in honour of the important contribution of those involved to the history of the women’s game.
The Trophy Tour will set off from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland on a journey spanning six months from April to September and over 2,000 kilometres. The tour will reach fans in every corner of Aotearoa, New Zealand, including Stewart Island and the Chatham Islands off the east coast of the South Island.
A detour across the South Pacific will also see the trophy take in Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands, as part of Rugby World Cup 2021’s ‘Championing Oceania’ programme to grow and support women and girls’ rugby in the islands.
The RWC 2021 Trophy Tour will shine a light on women’s rugby greats throughout New Zealand and around the world and will take in stops of historical significance; from where the very first match was played in 1888 between Wellington Girls High School and a Salvation Army team, to Palmerston North where Manawatū played Hawke’s Bay in the first women’s provincial match, and to Lancaster Park where the Black Ferns first took the pitch as an official New Zealand team in 1989.
Tour stops will offer the public the opportunity to get up close with the silverware, test their skills with rugby activities, learn about the history of the women’s game and meet some of their women’s rugby heroines. The calendar has been developed in consultation with New Zealand’s Provincial Rugby Unions and aims to support rugby events involving schools and clubs in each region. The tour will conclude just as gates open to fans across the three host stadiums in Auckland and Whangārei – Eden Park, Waitākere Stadium and Northland Events Centre.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Rugby World Cup 2021 Trophy Tour in Auckland; the city that will host the opening match day of the pinnacle women’s 15s tournament, and what is set to be a spectacular celebration of women’s rugby later this year.
“The Trophy Tour is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase women’s rugby to a nation that is hugely passionate about sport. It is our ambition to continue to build up excitement for Rugby World Cup and to inspire the next generation of female rugby players as the trophy travels over 2,000 kilometres to clubs, schools and community projects throughout New Zealand.
“Today also marks a very special moment in Rugby World Cup history as we announce the engraving of the 1991 and 1994 winners onto the trophy. Those involved played a significant role in paving the way for the players of today, and it is only right that their contribution to the women’s game is recognised in this way.”
Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director, Michelle Hooper, said: “The Rugby World Cup 2021 Trophy Tour gives us the opportunity to share in the excitement of hosting the tournament on home soil with Kiwis the length and breadth of New Zealand. It’s such a proud moment for us as a country and we know that people nationwide will welcome teams and visitors with open arms come October.
“It’s incredible the impact that seeing the trophy up close has on fans young and old. We hope it will inspire our tamariki and rangatahi to aim high and see a pathway for themselves within rugby in Aotearoa and perhaps learn a little bit about the rich history of the women’s game dating back to the first Rugby World Cup in 1991 and over a century earlier when the first women laced up their boots.”
Rugby World Cup 2021 from 8 October to 12 November is the biggest global event in women’s 15s rugby and will be contested by the top 12 teams in the world in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, England, Fiji, France, Italy, Japan, South Africa, USA, Wales, and Scotland. The Trophy Tour is an opportunity for fans throughout New Zealand to play a part in what will be a global celebration of women’s rugby on home soil.
The RWC 2021 Trophy Tour forms part of a wider legacy programme aimed at ensuring this year’s tournament, the first women’s Rugby World Cup to be held in the southern hemisphere, has a lasting impact on the women’s game beyond the final whistle. Its purpose is to not only generate excitement towards the tournament and inspire the next generation of women’s rugby players, but to celebrate women’s rugby history in the South Pacific and to honour the legends that have paved the way forward.
Today's launch also falls on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) which takes place annually on 6 April and presents an opportunity to recognise the positive role sport and physical activity can play in communities across the globe.
RWC 2021 Principal Charity Partner, ChildFund – through its rugby for development unit, ChildFund Rugby – is currently working to provide vulnerable women and girls in New Zealand and Oceania with the opportunities to learn new life skills to overcome challenges and become active leaders in their communities.
Visit the ChildFund Rugby website here for more details.
Team and Venue ticketing packs for Rugby World Cup 2021 will go on sale on at 1030am NZT Friday, 8 April, offering access to every game of the tournament including semi-finals and both the final and bronze final. Go to Home | Rugby World Cup 2021 from Friday to purchase.