Ireland’s WXV 3 challenge is beginning to take shape with confirmation that Kenya have joined Kazakhstan in qualifying for the new World Rugby tournament which takes place later this year.
The Lionesses beat Cameroon 52-3 in the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup while Kazakhstan lost 72-0 to Japan at the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship.
The three teams will be joined by either Italy or Spain, while Brazil and Colombia will meet in a two-leg play-off to determine South America’s qualifier, and one more team from Oceania.
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.
The third level WXV 3 matches will be played across the weekends of 14, 21 and 28 October with the host set to be named once the participating team picture becomes clearer in order to maximise attendance, reach and impact.
WXV 1 will consist of six teams and be played in a cross-pool format. Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams from the World Rugby Pacific Four Series (Rugby Americas North/Oceania). Each team will play three matches. There will be no relegation or promotion for the first two years.
The WXV 2 competition will consist of six teams, playing in a cross-pool format. Participating teams for 2023 will include two teams from Europe, the fourth-placed team from the Pacific Four Series, alongside one team from Oceania, Asia and Africa.
The sixth-placed regional position in the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season will be relegated to WXV 3.
WXV 3 will also be played as a cross-pool format, made up of six teams: two from Europe and one from Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America. The regional position of the winner of WXV 3 will be promoted to WXV 2 and the bottom team will play off against the next best ranked side, according to the World Rugby Women’s Rankings powered by Capgemini on the Monday after the final match of WXV that year.