World Rugby has announced a new annual global women’s rugby competition called WXV, which will launch in 2023.
The competition will feature 16 teams across three tiers in a new September to October window, except in World Cup years.
Nations will qualify for the WXV competition courtesy of their finishing positions in their respective annual competitions.
The top three teams in the Women’s Six Nations will qualify into the top-tier along with the top three from a tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the USA.
These regional competitions, played within a new regional window, must be completed by June each year.
How it will work
WXV 1 will consist of six teams and be played in a cross-pool format, at a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.
Participating teams will include the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe) and the top three teams of the cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA (Oceania/Rugby Americas North (RAN)). Each team will play three matches.
There will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle of WXV 1.
The WXV 2 competition will consist of six teams, playing in a cross-pool format, as a standalone tournament in one location, which will be determined on a year-by-year basis.
Participating teams for 2023 will include two teams from Europe, the fourth-placed team from the cross-regional tournament featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA (Oceania/RAN) 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 be hosted in one venue as a round-robin format and will consist of four teams with the winner and rankings determined by a points table. Participating teams will include two teams from Europe, one team from Asia and the winner of an Africa v South America play-off.
The top-ranked regional position in the WXV 3 competition will be promoted to the WXV 2 competition at the end of each season.
A play-off between the fourth-ranked team and the next best-ranked team from the World Rugby Women’s Rankings will determine the regional position for the next year.
World Rugby has also announced that the competition programme will be supported by a dedicated Women in Rugby commercial programme that sets out to actively further profile, engagement and sustainable growth, driving revenue back into the development of the game, supporting another key objective of the Women in Rugby Plan 2017-25.