Dates for women's Rugby World Cup confirmed

The dates for next year's women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand have been announced with the tournament to run from 8 October to 12 November.

The 12-team tournament which was due to be held this year in Auckland and Whangarei was postponed due to Covid-19.

The new dates mean the tournament will be extended from 35 to 43 days, meaning all teams will have a minimum of five rest days between matches in align with the approach recently approved for the men's competition.

The extension of the tournament window also allows for a revamped tournament format that will see all matches take place on Saturdays and Sundays with no overlap.

The pool phase will be played on the weekends of 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 October, 2022 at Eden Park, Northlands Events Centre in Whangārei and Waitakere Stadium.

The quarter-finals will take place on 29-30 October followed by semi-finals on Saturday, 5 November.

The bronze medal match will be played on Saturday, 12 November, with Eden Park set to create history by becoming the first stadium to host both the men's and women's Rugby World Cup finals.

Organising committee chairperson Dame Julie Christie told Morning Report they hoped the borders would be open by then.

"You'd like to think so, wouldn't you. We've been through a big planning process of course in order to make sure that the delay will work for the players and world rugby and New Zealand rugby so we are very hopeful. That's all we can be these days, I think."

Having games on the weekends only would be good for players and would enable bigger crowds at games. Daylight savings and warmer weather would also be in effect, Christie said.

"Believe it or not this actually probably works better for us as a tournament."

Ticket prices had not been decided yet but "women's rugby is based around family and family will be an important part so there will be reasonably priced tickets to ensure families can attend, and especially children.

"Women's rugby is the fastest growing segment of the game, so we will be looking to ensure that as many young women as possible can attend."

World Rugby chair Sir Bill Beaumont said: "We are fully committed to accelerating the women's game at all levels and while the postponement was disappointing for everyone, it has provided the unique opportunity to review every aspect of the event to ensure it is the best it can be for the players, fans around the world and the wonderful and enthusiastic New Zealanders".

The competition has kept its world cup 2021 branding with an addition of - in te reo Māori - "now playing in 2022".