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RWC 2025: Breach looks to Brighton as host venues are announced

EXETER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Jess Breach of England breaks clear to score her first and England's second try during the Women's international match between England Red Roses and USA at Sandy Park on September 03, 2022 in Exeter, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

The announcement of the locations for England’s home Rugby World Cup in 2025 brings added excitement for fans and players alike as the sport will be showcased across the country.

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Designed to represent the core vision to create a celebration of women’s rugby across England, the tenth edition of the women’s RWC will span eight stadiums.

Now two years out from the tournament which will run from 22nd August 2025 until the 27th September, host cities of Brighton and Hove, Bristol, Exeter, London, Manchester*, Northampton, Sunderland, and York have been announced today.

The eight venues of Brighton and Hove Albion Stadium, Ashton Gate, Sandy Park, Twickenham Stadium, Salford Community Stadium*, Franklin’s Gardens, Stadium of Light, and York Community Stadium will set the stage for the most accessible women’s RWC ever.

Four venues currently featured in Allianz Premiership Women’s Rugby are included, with stadiums used by PWR teams Bristol Bears (Ashton Gate), Exeter Chiefs (Sandy Park), Sale Sharks (Salford Community Stadium), and Loughborough Lightning (Franklin’s Gardens) all involved.

In addition, three stadiums which typically are home to football teams including Premier League’s Brighton and Hove Stadium which also hosted UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 as well as being the RWC 2015 venue where Japan men secured their historic 34-32 victory over South Africa, Sunderland’s Stadium of Light, and York Community Stadium.

The scale of the World Cup not only allows fans across the country to connect with international rugby, but it also allows many of the Red Roses to play in places that hold fond memories for them.

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England and Saracens back Jess Breach, who was born in Chichester, is looking forward to seeing nearby Brighton host some of the fixtures in the tournament.

The 25-year-old said: “I’m super excited for Brighton to be on the map for the World Cup in 2025. For me, it’s really special because I only live 30 or so minutes away from the city and I went there when I was 12 years old to play for an all-girls team. That’s where I then kicked on playing after playing minis for Chichester RFC. I can’t wait for the rugby community to see what a fantastic city Brighton is.”

Breach also hopes that having top-level rugby spread nationwide in the mega event will encourage large local crowds.

“Having the Rugby World Cup in different regions around the country will definitely make the game more accessible to a bigger audience. It means people can come and watch international rugby at places maybe an hour away rather than having to travel longer distances, so I think it’s really important for the growth of our game. Hopefully, it means we can get big crowds at all matches at every host venue.”

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Compared to the last World Cup in New Zealand, any distance the Red Roses will travel in England to play at the RWC in 2025 will be a drop in the ocean.

Breach eagerly anticipates playing in a home RWC and having loved ones in closer proximity compared to her previous experiences on the international stage.

“Rugby always takes you away from your family and friends and I think how you deal with it is really important.

“The Rugby World Cup in 2021 was challenging for a lot of us with it being on the other side of the world but it’s going to be super special and important to us to have a World Cup on home soil.

“Everyone that loves you can come and watch, which will really boost us and help us win lots of games. Hopefully, that will result in us playing in a final in front of 82,000 people.”

The Red Roses are no strangers to bringing the game to crowds across the country, having previously been the home side at a variety of stadiums, mostly recently at this year’s Six Nations where they played in Newcastle, Northampton, and Twickenham.

“It’s really exciting to be able to play in lots of different stadiums in an England shirt,” Breach said.

“I think the level of support we receive has been really good so far from the Six Nations to autumn internationals and even club games. It means lots of family and friends can come and watch us play in an England shirt which is amazing and always special to everyone. It means a lot to pull on that Red Roses shirt for them,” she added.

Hosts England have already secured their qualification, as have New Zealand, France, and Canada due to finishing in the top four of RWC 2021. Additional teams will qualify through World Rugby’s WXV tournament which will play its inaugural competition this October, as well as regional competitions in 2024.

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