SYDNEY – Australia outlined their plans Wednesday for the 2021 women's rugby World Cup, with the tournament hosted in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney should their bid be successful.
The 12-team tournament, held eight times previously, was a huge success in Ireland in 2017 and Rugby Australia are keen to bring it to the southern hemisphere for the first time.
The deadline for bids to be submitted is Friday, with World Rugby saying England, France, New Zealand, Portugal and Wales had also indicated interest.
Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said all matches would be played in Maitland and Newcastle, 170 kilometres (105 miles) north of Sydney, under their proposal.
“We have more women and girls playing rugby than ever before and we continue to see double-digit growth in participation in both our sevens and XVs formats of the game,” she said.
“Hosting the tournament would provide us with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to showcase the best of the women's game to the Australian public.”
The popularity of female sport is rapidly gaining momentum in Australia, with a new five-team women's rugby competition announced last year.
It followed moves by the National Rugby League, Australian Football League, Cricket Australia and Football Federation Australia, among others, to institute women's tournaments as female participation soars.
The 2017 World Cup in Ireland was the best-attended, most-viewed and most socially-engaged so far, according to World Rugby, further indicating fast-growing interest in women's sport.
A decision on the 2021 host will be made November 14.
Australia successfully co-hosted the men's edition in 1987 with New Zealand and hosted the 2003 event alone, but has never staged a women's World Cup.
Agence France-Presse (AFP)