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Canada hosts 2024 WXV 1 tournament as top women's rugby teams converge on BC – Sports

Canada hosts 2024 WXV 1 tournament as top women's rugby teams converge on BC – Sports

British Columbia will host the 2024 edition of WXV 1, the elite division of the women's 15s rugby competition that debuted last year.

WXV 1 features the top three teams from the 2024 Pacific Four Series and the top three teams from the 2024 Guinness Women's Six.

The Canadian, who is currently ranked fourth in the world, ranked second in the inaugural edition of the 2023 competition, which was won by England, which is ranked first in New Zealand.

The 2024 championship will be contested over three consecutive weekends in September and October, with “select matches” at BC Place Stadium.

Matches will be played on September 27-29, October 4-6 and 11-13 with a detailed schedule to be released at a later date. The Canadian Rugby Union says while all matches will be played in the Lower Mainland, not all will be at BC Place.

Ottawa hosted the 2023 Pacific Four Series last July, with Ottawa's TD Place attracting a record crowd for a Canadian women's home game of 10,092 to watch Canada lose 52-21 to second-place New Zealand.

“This edition of the WXV is particularly important as it heads towards a Rugby World Cup year in 2025,” Nathan Bombris, CEO of Rugby Canada, said in a statement. “We are honored and excited to welcome the best teams in the world this fall to the city of North American rugby for this most important event, and we believe that hosting this tournament on our home soil will contribute to the growth of rugby across the country.”

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WXV 2 will be held in South Africa with WXV 3 in Dubai.

“The tournament plays an essential role in helping us develop women’s rugby, providing more opportunities for players, exposing the game to more fans and inspiring more girls to play,” said Sally Horrocks, head of women’s rugby at World Rugby.

Wednesday's announcement came a day after the Canadian Rugby Union revealed the Canadian men will play two games in Ottawa and one in Vancouver this summer.

Home tests are welcome sources of income for Rugby Canada.

Prior to last year's Pacific Four series, only two of the Canadian women's previous 46 test matches had been on home soil – with 2022 World Cup warm-up matches in July in Langford, B.C. (34-24 win over Italy) and in August in Halifax (31st win -3 over Wales).

The 2024 Pacific Four Series will see Canada play games in Australia, New Zealand and the United States

The United States will host Canada on April 27 in the opening match of the tournament. Australia and New Zealand will host the remaining matches in May.

The Wallaroos will host Canada (on May 11) and the United States The Black Ferns, looking to win a third straight title and maintain their unbeaten record in the competition, will host the United States, Canada (on May 19) and Australia.

This year's tournament will help determine qualification for the 2025 World Cup, but not for Canada.

World champions New Zealand, England, Canada and France booked their place by reaching the semi-finals of the 2022 tournament in New Zealand. A further six teams will qualify as regional championship winners in 2024 (Women's Rugby Asia Championship, Guinness Women's Six Nations, Women's Oceania Rugby Championship, Pacific Four Series, Women's Rugby Africa Cup and South American Play-off).

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The final six spots will go to the top-ranked WXV teams that have not yet qualified.

Eighth-seeded Scotland beat No. 11 Japan 38-7 to win WXV 2 last year while No. 10 Ireland beat No. 12 Spain 15-13 to win WXV 3.

Follow @NeilMDavidson on X, formerly known as Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2024

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