You’ll be forgiven for missing the WXV tournament, especially since the global attention is either in France for the Rugby World Cup or in India for the Cricket World Cup.
The WXV tournament just kicked off which will be staged in South Africa, Dubai and New Zealand over the next three weeks, with the sole aim to offer consistent annual fixtures for sides outside of World Cup years.
The Purpose Behind WXV
The main objective of this yearly competition is to prepare for the Rugby World Cup in 2025, which will have 16 teams and be hosted in England.
It offers teams a pathway to qualify for the tournament, with at least five of the highest-ranked non-qualified teams by the end of WXV 2024 securing a place at the World Cup. This development brings new opportunities and growth for women’s rugby.
Understanding the Structure: How Does WXV Work?
The WXV competition has three levels, each with six countries that qualified through continental tournaments and play-offs. These six nations in each level are divided into two groups.
WXV 1 – Top Contenders
Includes the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (England, France, and Wales) and the top three teams from a cross-regional tournament (Canada, New Zealand, and Australia).
WXV 2 – European and Regional Talent
Features a mix of European teams (Italy and Scotland), the remaining team from the cross-regional tournament (United States), and champions from Oceania, Asia, and Africa.
WXV 3 – Emerging Teams
Provides a platform for emerging talent and includes the lowest-ranked team from the Six Nations, another European team, the winner of a South American play-off, and the runners-up of regional tournaments in Oceania, Asia, and Africa.
Point System and Promotion/Relegation
In each level, the teams in the two groups compete against each other. The standings are determined using a points table. A win gives a team four points, a draw grants two points, and bonus points can be earned for scoring four tries or losing by seven points or fewer.
During the first year of WXV 1, there is no promotion or relegation. However, in WXV 2, the sixth-placed team will move down to WXV 3. The winner of WXV 3 will be promoted to WXV 2, and the bottom team in the third level will participate in a play-off based on World Rugby’s rankings.
In WXV 1, England, Wales, and France are in one group, competing against Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These games will be played in New Zealand. England will face Australia on October 20 in Wellington, Canada on October 27 in Dunedin, and have a highly anticipated match against New Zealand in Auckland on November 4.
Wales will play Canada on October 21, New Zealand on October 28, and Australia on November 3.
In WXV 2, Scotland, Italy, and Samoa are in a group and will face host nation South Africa, Japan, and the USA. Scotland starts their campaign against South Africa on October 13, followed by the USA on October 20, and their final match against Japan on October 27.
WXV 3 features Ireland, Kenya, and Fiji competing against Kazakhstan, Colombia, and Spain. All games will be held at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai. Ireland starts their campaign against Kazakhstan on October 13, followed by Colombia on October 21, and their final game against Spain on October 28.
How to Stay Updated
To keep up with the WXV matches, rugby enthusiasts can easily watch all matches in WXV 1, WXV 2, and WXV 3 on RugbyPass TV.
Supersport will broadcast WXV 2 with the Women’s Springbok Rugby team taking on ther rest of the world in their group.
The WXV competition is a significant moment for women’s rugby, marking a new era of opportunities and global recognition. As the world eagerly watches, these exceptional athletes will give their all to make their mark in rugby history. It’s more than just a tournament; it’s a celebration of skill, strength, and the unwavering spirit of women in rugby.