The draw for the 2021 Rugby World Cup, the top competition in women’s rugby, has been set for November 20 and is scheduled to take place in Auckland in host nation New Zealand.
SkyCity Theatre is due to stage the draw which will be streamed worldwide through World Rugby’s digital channels.
For the first time in the draw’s history, the World Rugby women’s rankings will be used to determine the draw bandings for direct qualifiers.
No edition of the women’s Rugby World Cup has taken place in the southern hemisphere before, with the tournament dating back to 1991.
The 2021 hosts have won five of the eight World Cup titles, including four-in-a-row from 1998 to 2010.
Scheduled from September 18 to October 16 next year, the ninth edition is planned to be held across three match venues.
“The Rugby World Cup 2021 draw marks an important milestone for teams and fans alike as momentum truly starts to build towards the most important international rugby tournament of 2021,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.
“We are in unusual and unique times with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, working in full partnership with New Zealand Rugby and local and national authorities, we are committed to a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021.
“We look forward to welcoming the world’s top women’s 15s players to New Zealand and fans around the world as we look to raise the bar for women’s rugby and women in rugby in line with our important and impactful 2017-2025 Women in Rugby plan.”
Nine of the 12 teams have already been confirmed with England, France, Wales, Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand all automatically qualifying.
New Zealand qualified as hosts while the other six were the next highest finishers at the 2017 edition in Ireland.
Fiji and South Africa also qualified from regional competitions, with Asian, European and repechage winners still to be determined to fill the other spots at the competition.
Band one will be comprised of New Zealand, England and Canada, with band two featuring France, Australia and the US.
Wales, South Africa and the European qualifier will be in band three, while the Asian qualifier, Fiji and the repechage winner will make up band four.