Black Ferns pool opponents confirmed for the Rugby World Cup

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New Zealand and Australia are in Pool A, Canada and the United States of America are in Pool B, and England and France are in Pool C.

The tournament, the first Women's World Cup played in the Southern Hemisphere, will be played at Eden Park and Waitakere Stadiums in Auckland and the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei.

New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the draw that while the tournament was special to the country before Covid-19, it now took on an extra dimension for the world.

"It is one of the few countries in the world where sport can even be played in front of packed stadiums of fans," she said.

The defence of the title by New Zealand's Black Ferns would be the first time they had the chance to do that on home soil. New Zealand had won the title five times.

The tournament would be a chance to showcase New Zealand, the game both here and internationally and to showcase New Zealand's elite athletes and to provide inspiration for girls and boys while breaking down gender inequality in sport, Ardern said.

"We are committed to a spectacular Rugby World Cup 2021. We can't wait to welcome all 12 teams to Aotearoa New Zealand," she said.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said New Zealand's hosting of the World Cup would confirm the rise of women in rugby is real, powerful and transformational.

He said, the New Zealand event, along with the Olympic Games, rescheduled for Japan 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, will continue the growth by inspiring participation and audience engagement across all age groups.

It would be an unprecedented year for the women's game, he said.

"We are blessed with so many fantastic players and role models – a golden generation of stars, performing at the highest level of the game, who inspire females of all ages to have the confidence to get out and give rugby a try; be it for fitness competition or run," Beaumont said.

Beaumont was unable to attend the draw due to travel restrictions caused by the panic made his statement before Friday's tournament draw in Auckland.

Nine of the 12 competing teams have qualified, and two others will come from the Asia 1 and Europe 1 zones. The last team will emerge from a final qualification tournament next year. It will feature Samoa, one team each from the Europe 2 and Asia 2 zones, and the winner of a playoff game between Colombia and Kenya.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, former Black Ferns Melodie Robinson and Dr Farah Palmer and former All Black Dan Carter made the draw.

The groups are:


Pool A: New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Final Qualifier winner

Pool B: Canada, United States, Europe 1, Asia 1

Pool C: England, France, South Africa, Fiji

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