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Six countries in running for 2021 Women's RWC, including one you wouldn't expect

Six countries in running for 2021 Women's RWC, including one you wouldn't expect
Black Ferns lift 2017 World Cup

A record six countries have put their hand up to host the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021.

Five of the candidates are hardly a surprise – Australia, England, France, New Zealand and Wales, but Portugal have also thrown their hat into the ring.

The Iberian country is hardly famed for its rugby prowess, however it’s making progress in the Sevens circuit. They failed to qualify for the 2017 Women’s World Cup hosted by Ireland. The men’s team has qualified for just one Rugby World Cup, in 2007, where they finished bottom of their pool and were trounced 108-13 by the All Blacks.

The six countries all confirmed their intention to tender having reviewed World Rugby’s bid guide issued last month.

It will be the ninth edition of the tournament. Last year’s event, which was played in Dublin and Belfast, set record attendances and viewership numbers.

New Zealand beat defending champions and tournament favourites England 41-32 in the final at Ulster’s home ground Kingspan Stadium, in Belfast. It was a fifth title for the Black Ferns.

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World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “We are delighted with the record level of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 hosting interest from unions, which reflects the significant global excitement and momentum behind the women’s game.

“Ireland 2017 was a magnificent tournament by any Rugby World Cup standards, and I am sure that all six unions will be determined to raise the bar again as we look forward to a tournament that features a new format and is a proven sporting and social legacy driver.”

The six unions are being issued with the bid documents and now have until 10 August 2018 to submit their bid responses.

The World Rugby Council will select the Rugby World Cup 2021 host at its interim meeting in Dublin on 14 November 2018.

World Rugby will be looking for a smoother bid process compared to the men’s 2023 edition, where South Africa were the recommended by the technical review group, only for France to usurp them when it came to voting on the tournament hosts.

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Six countries in running for 2021 Women's RWC, including one you wouldn't expect | Rugby Pass