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WXV: A brief history of all 18 teams taking part in the new competition

WXV

Starting in October, WXV will provide new opportunities for international competition for 18 teams across three tiers. Here’s a brief history of each team and their past results against the teams they will be facing.

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WXV 1

England

England’s Red Roses are currently ranked first on the world rankings. With two World Cup titles from 1994 and 2014 and 18 Six Nations wins (including 16 Grand Slams), England will be looking to add an inaugural WXV title to their resume as they work towards hosting a home World Cup in 2025. They will face fierce rivals the Black Ferns on New Zealand’s home soil for the first time since they lost in the RWC 2021 final, and will no doubt be eager to set the record straight as they begin their WXV journey. 

England have featured in every RWC since it began and combined with their two wins, have been runners-up five times. They have played the Black Ferns 30 times, winning 10, losing 19, and drawing one and have faced Wales 40 times, winning on 38 occasions. They have come up against France, who are their closest competitor in the Six Nations presently and the WXV1  team they have played the most, 53 times, winning 39 of those fixtures. Australia have been their opponent six times and England have a 100% win record. Lastly, they have won 28 out of 32 matches against Canada. 

New head coach John Mitchell will be joining the team at some point over the next few months after he has finished his tenure coaching Japan at the men’s RWC and Louis Deacon is interim head coach in the meantime. 

New Zealand

The reigning RWC champions, the Black Ferns, go into WXV ranked second in the world. After securing qualification through their first-place finish at the Pacific Four Series, they will also host tier one of WXV. They have been a dominant force on the world stage, winning six out of nine RWCs, and the lowest they have ever been on the world rankings is second.

Their first international fixture was against The Netherlands in August 1990, where they won 56-0. They have played against 15 different international teams since then, and have faced a WorldXV side twice.

Against Wales, they’ve won six games from six in their history. Against France, they’ve won on six out of ten occasions. They’re unbeaten against local rivals Australia, winning all 24 fixtures, scoring 899 points in the process. England is the team they’ve played the most in the world, and they have won 19 times out of 30. 

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Wales

Wales played their first international match in 1987 when they lost 4-22 to England. They hosted the first women’s RWC in Cardiff in 1991 and have gone on to play in every tournament apart from 2006. Their best finish at a RWC was fourth in 1991. 

Ioan Cunningham’s squad clinched the final WXV1 place available from the Six Nations with their third-place finish, beating Ireland, Scotland, and Italy in the process. They begin WXV ranked sixth in the world, the lowest out of their competitors in the top tier of the competition. 

The majority of their squad ply their trade in the Premiership Women’s Rugby, mostly split across the West Country at Bristol Bears and Gloucester-Hartpury. 

They have only ever beaten England twice, despite a lengthy competition record between the two. Against France, they have won four times in their history, and have never beaten Australia or New Zealand. They have won twice against Canada since their first meeting in 1991, however, have also lost seven. 

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France

Runners-up from this year’s Six Nations, France will provide fierce competition in WXV 1. Their second place at the Six Nations after a narrow and well-fought game against England at Twickenham which ended 33-38 saw them take their place in WXV1.

They have never dropped out of the top six in the world rankings with their lowest ranking being sixth, and their highest being second. They go into WXV ranked third, which is the same place they finished at the RWC last year. Stand-out wins at the Six Nations this year include 53-3 against Ireland and 50-0 against Scotland. 

Of the teams they will face in WXV1 they have beaten against Wales in 25 out of 29 meetings. They have a 40% win rate against RWC champions New Zealand, have lost 40 out of 59 matches against the Red Roses, have won nine out of 16 meetings with Canada, and won four out of five matches against Australia. 

Australia

The Wallaroos qualified for WXV1 after finishing third at the Pacific Four Series. They played their official first match in 1994 to New Zealand, and they lost 0-37. Their best result at a RWC was a third-place finish in 2010, and they made it to the quarter-final last year. 

New Zealand is the team they’ve played the most out of any of the teams in WXV 1, and in fact, are also the team they’ve played the most out in their history. They have never won against the Black Ferns, England, or Canada but the introduction of WXV will give them more opportunities to try and achieve a first victory. They have a sole win against France out of five meetings.

They’ve played in six RWCs, their first being in 1998, and go into WXV 1 ranked fifth in the world. 

Canada 

An impressive RWC2021 campaign saw them finish just outside the top three with a loss in the third-place play-off to France. They have played in all nine RWCs and their best finish was runners-up in 2014 when they lost in the final to England despite drawing with them in the pool stage. They have finished fourth at four RWCs and remain key contenders as one of the top teams in the world. 

They secured their qualification for WXV 1 with their second-place finish at the Pacific Four Series where they beat Australia and USA before losing to New Zealand. They’re currently ranked fourth in the world. Out of their top-tier opponents, they have been the most successful against Australia, winning five out of five meetings. 

 

WXV2

Scotland 

After qualifying for WXV 2 due to their fourth-place finish at the Six Nations earlier this year, Scotland go into the new competition ranked ninth in the world. 

Their first international match was against Ireland in 1993, when they won 10-0. They had competed at six World Cups and returned to the competition last year after two-tournament hiatus from their last appearance in 2010 when they finished 8th. 

Out of the four WXV 2 teams they will face their most successful result has been against Samoa, who they played once in 2002 and won. They have played the USA five times, losing four. South Africa have beaten them twice on the only occasions they have met. They have never played Japan, so playing in WXV2 will allow them to expand their experience playing against a variety of sides that many of the current squad won’t have ever faced. 

USA

The USA Eagles’ first international fixture was against Canada in 1987, where they recorded a 22-3 win. Since then, they have gone to play against 14 different international teams. Despite this, they have never faced Samoa, who join them in WXV 2. Against Italy, they have won two of the three matches they’ve played, against Scotland and South Africa they have won four out of their five encounters with each, and against Japan, they won the only match they have played.

Recent form saw them qualify for WXV 2 after finishing fourth in the Pacific Four Series and not winning any of their matches. They go into WXV ranked seventh in the world, the highest of any team in the second tier of the competition. 

Samoa

Manusina Samoa have played at three RWCs, the first in 2002 where they achieved their best result of the three (ninth). 

They took the one WXV2 place up for grabs in the Oceania Championship in what was their first title, beating Fiji in the final. 

Their most significant recorded loss came against Australia in 2009 (0-87) while their biggest win was against Papua New Guinea last year (91-0). Their first recorded fixture was against Japan in 2000 when they lost 10-12. They enter WXV ranked 16th in the world. They lost the only fixture they’ve played against Scotland which was in 2002, as with Japan who they last played in 2000, and Italy who they played in 2013. They have previously played South Africa twice, winning one and losing one, and have never played against the USA.

Japan 

The Cherry Blossoms’ first international rugby was played at the 1991 RWC. Their first game was a 0-62 loss to France which was played in 1991. They have gone on to play in a further five RWCs, and their best finish was eighth in 1994. Their biggest win was against Hong Kong in 2005 (78-0). Their biggest recorded loss came to WXV2 opponents USA, albeit in 1994, where the Eagles won with a 121-0 scoreline. 

They’re currently ranked 11th in the World. Out of their WXV2 opponents their best results have been against South Africa, who they’ve beaten both times they’ve met. In two matches against Scotland, they have won one, but against Italy, they have lost three out of four. 

They qualified for WXV2 by winning the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship, beating Kazakhstan 72-0. 

South Africa

After making their RWC debut in 2006, the Springbok Women have played in a further four RWCs. Their best finish was tenth place in their inaugural appearance at the tournament. 

At the most recent RWC, they went out in the group stage after losing all three of their pool games against France, England, and Fiji. They will host the second tier of WXV in what is a massive step forward for women’s rugby in South Africa. Their first international fixture was played against Wales in 2004 when they lost 5-8.  

Their heaviest defeat was against England in 2005 when they lost 101-0, and their biggest win was against Namibia last year (128-3). They won this year’s Rugby Africa Women’s Cup with a  79-8 win against Madagascar which saw them take the one space in WXV2 that was up for grabs from the competition. 

Italy

After a historic 2022 for Le Azzurre, they secured a place in WXV2 after winning a two-leg playoff with Spain. At RWC 2021 last Autumn they became the first Italian team, men’s or women’s, to reach a RWC quarter-final.

They finished fifth at the Six Nations this year and go into WXV with a world ranking of eighth. Their only win at the most recent Six Nations was against Ireland. 

Their first official international match was a 0-0 draw to France in Riccione in 1985. Their biggest win was 52-0 against Germany in 2005. They played their first Six Nations in 2007 after replacing Spain in the competition. They have finished bottom of the competition three times. Against the team’s they’ll face in WXV2 their best results have been against Scotland who they have only lost to seven times. They won their only fixture against Samoa in 2013, as with South Africa who they played in 2018. They have won three out of four meetings with Japan, but have lost two out of three against the USA. 

WXV3

Spain 

Played their first match in 1989, against France, and were involved in the Five Nations and then the Six Nations from 2000 until 2006, and their best result was three third-place finishes in that time. When they were replaced by Italy in 2007 as the tournament aligned itself with the men’s, Spain lost out on the opportunity to regularly compete with the top teams in Europe.

From 2016 to 2022 they finished in first place at the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship. They were one of the twelve teams to take part in the first women’s RWC in 1991. They have gone on to take part in a further five RWCs, the most recent being in 2017 where they finished tenth. 

They have never played against WXV 3 opponents Colombia, Fiji, or Kenya, but have achieved positive results against Ireland and Kazakhstan. Their past form against Ireland has seen them win six out of ten fixtures, while against Kazakhstan they have a three-from-three win rate. 

Fiji

Fiji played their first test against Samoa in 2006, played them seven times, won four and lost three. Their first appearance in a RWC came at the most recent tournament in New Zealand. Despite not making it out of the pool stage, they put in an impressive performance against England and beat South Africa 21-17 to secure a  well-deserved win.

Since their first game in 2006 where they lost 15-27, they have gone on to play a further ten international teams. They have never played against any of their competitors from WXV, so the tournament will see them enter what is a relatively unknown field of play. As their performances at RWC 2021 showed, however, this shouldn’t stop them from bringing flare and excitement to any game. 

Kenya

The Lionesses played their first test in 2006 against Uganda, who they’ve played 26 times, winning 14. They are currently ranked 23rd in the world rankings and have never played at a RWC. 

Colombia and South Africa are the only teams from those taking who have qualified for WXV that they have played against, and they are yet to win a game against either. They will have the opportunity to compete against Colombia while also adding to their international experience with additional games against Kazakhstan, Ireland, Fiji, and Spain as part of WXV3. 

They missed out on qualifying for RWC 2021 after losing in the cross-regional repechage play-off against Colombia which they were part of after they finished second at the 2019 Rugby Africa Women’s Cup. 

Colombia

Las Tucanes have only played against four sides since 2019 and two of them feature in their WXV group. They beat Brazil, the side they have played the most frequently in that time, in a two-game series to qualify for their place in WXV 3. They have played against Kazakhstan and Kenya once, winning both times and will be looking to replicate that this Autumn. Scotland beat them to take the space at RWC 2021 that was up for grabs. They’re currently 25th in the world rankings and start WXV as the lowest-ranked team in the tournament. They have never played against Ireland, Fiji, or Spain. 

Ireland

Currently 10th in the world rankings, WXV will give Ireland the opportunity to gain some much-needed game time after a turbulent few seasons. They will compete in WXV 3 finishing bottom of the 2023 Six Nations table. Ten years prior they won a Grand Slam in the competition and will be hoping to rebuild the form of old in the coming years. After missing out on a place at last year’s RWC, the opportunity to play more regular international fixtures as a result of the new WXV competition will boost their chances to compete at a higher level going forward. They have never played against Kenya, Colombia, or Fiji. Against Spain, they have a 40% win record (played 10, won four, lost six), and new head coach Scott Bemand’s side will look to record some positive results to finish a challenging 2023. 

Kazakhstan

Nicknamed the Nomads, Kazakhstan have a rich women’s rugby history and have played in six Rugby World Cups. Their first was in 1994, the second edition of the tournament, and their best finish was 9th place out of 16 in 1998. In 2014, they won the Asian Four Nations Championship in Hong Kong. Their first recorded fixture was against Germany in 1993.

Out of their competitors in WXV 3 they have previously played against three out of the five. Their best win percentage of the three is against Ireland, where they’ve played five games, won three, and lost two. Against Colombia, they lost the only game that they’ve played, and against Spain, they lost both of the only games they’ve played. They have never played against Fiji or Kenya, so WXV3 will see them compete for the first time. 

Currently 18th in the world rankings, their biggest win on record was in 2005 with a 67-0 scoreline against Thailand. Their heaviest defeat came against England in 2010 when the Red Roses beat them 82-0.

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Comments

2 Comments
J
Jen 334 days ago

Great rundown on the teams. Looking forward to this tourny. Super curious to see a team like Kazakhstan in action - hopefully great for the growth of the game.

C
Charles 336 days ago

😔 Apparently, the writer and staff did not bother to research the tournament further.

As far as I can tell, the three European teams in WXV 1, England, France and Wales will be placed in one pool and they will each play Australia, Canada and New Zealand in the other pool.

In WXV 2, Italy, Scotland and Samoa will be together playing against the United States, Japan and South Africa.

WXV 3 will have Ireland, Spain and Columbia playing Fiji, Kazakhstan and Kenya.

I can accept that this article must have been written before the draw was made, but looking in some of the national teams future schedules, you can estimate which teams were being grouped together. It really doesn't make much sense for the European teams play each other after already facing each other in the Six Nation tournament. 🙄

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sean 1 hours ago
The bite don't match the bark

Yeah, he has a few good points… I disagree that our 7s haven't done anything, we won Bronze in 2016, and we were virtually unplayable to the backend of the “teens” winning the series. 7s is far more competitive globally than Union, so it's fair to say we haven't dominated, but we are almost always contenders. But I do agree that our national side doesn't perform nearly as well as it should between World Cups, and I do agree that our supporters can be too passionate and the opitimity of what Rugby stands against. I have said so many times. And I also believe some context needs to be taken into account with Saturday's win for Ireland. They're a really good team! Settled coaching staff, and bar a few legends retiring, they've had a full season and plenty of time together. We have some youngsters being groomed for the future, have played only 3 games now under a new coaching team with new philosophies and game plans. I'm excited by what the future of this team holds, as much as I am disappointed by the result. But unlike this article suggests, I am never going to take away from what Ireland has achieved, is achieving, and where they're heading. As a Rugby fan, I love the tight games, like the last two weekends. As a Bok Super Fan, I agree we don't perform as well as we should. And as an aside, you come play a game at 7am on our fields, bud. -2°c and frost on the field that is as hard as concrete…. Then we’ll see just how tough you are. Well done Ireland! They played well, and gave our boys a lot to think about. That's what you want from the top two teams in the world. Rugby won. The fans of this greatbsport won. A'n bullshit like this article is why Rugby is losing its identity. I don't like soccer. This article perpetuates the soccer influences the game of Rugby is starting to see. It's why Wayne Barnes retired, feared for his family, and he isn't the only ref to say so. I have called out many Bok fans for being an embarrassment to the game, and I will continue to do so. Rugbypass.com, this article is close to the same bullshit. You should be better.

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M
Michael 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Cant deny Christie is a good defender, box kicks well at times, BUT he’s a second too slow passing from the ground. Roigard, Ratima and Hotham will be our 2027 halfbacks I believe DMAC has played reasonably well in both games, so deserves to keep his place - his two breaks at Eden Park should have resulted in tries. Reece was really to blame for the Taylor failure - he stayed too wide, if he had come in a couple of meters the pass from Taylor would have worked. The Perofeta failure was extraordinary, he is normally such a good distributor, failure to draw in Steward was remarkable, failure to look inside was a shocker. Cory Flynn as lineout coach… umm something a miss here. Not sure who is calling the lineouts, but clearly we miss Whitelock’s leadership. Having a disfunctional line out really underminded the AB attack. But let’s remind ourselves Itoje is a master, and their tactics of going for the arms of the jumper on landing and pulling over was brilliant causing Paddy and Scooter to both fumble the balls. I am a Blues supporter so I like Talea, but if you play him on the wrong wing look out. While he’s not the fastest wing, he’s elusive and very industrious always looking for work. However, he’s not the tallest player, and everyone knows his weakness (a) being turned in defence - he’s slow to turn and react and (b) never jumps for high balls is normally out jumped. Personally, I find Recce and Talea too alike - Razor needs to couple them with another complementary partner Clark and Narawa respectively. However, for me the real troubling challenge is our mid-field. I am sorry Barrett & Ioane are a poor combo - either Barrett & Proctor or ALB & Ioane - but having two mid-fielders who are poor distributors is nuts. Jordie had a forgettable game in truth he missed so many tackles, which to be fair is unlike him. But sadly both Barrett and Ioane chose to bash first and rarely distribute cleanly.

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