With the formal deadline having passed for bids to host the Women's Rugby World Cup 2021, here's what we know so far.
New Zealand and Australia have both confirmed they submitted bids in time for today’s deadline and though neither France nor Portugal would confirm, it is understood they have submitted a joint bid.
England and Wales, having shown initial interest, decided not to bid in the end.
New Zealand’s bid names Auckland and Whangarei as host cities. Under the plan matches would be played at Albany Stadium, Waitakere Stadium and Northland Events Centre, with Eden Park also available.
The New Zealand Government has supported the bid, with backing from MBIE, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Whangarei District Council, while even Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed her support.
“We would be thrilled for the event to be held here. New Zealand is the home of women’s rugby, the Black Ferns captured our imaginations again when they won their fifth World Cup title last year, and our entire country would get behind the tournament and all the teams participating.
“New Zealand welcomes major events and has a successful track record in hosting and organising many large events including RWC2011, FIFA U20 World Cup 2015, Cricket World Cup 2015, World Masters Games 2017 and the upcoming America’s Cup in 2021.
“It’s exciting to see the regional element to our bid. I know Northland will embrace games being held in their part of the country and their local support will be a key ingredient in its success.
The NZR said they are also exploring the option to host a Pacific Island women’s rugby tournament alongside the WRWC2021.
Australia meanwhile have also launched ambitious plans naming the Newcastle and Hunter region as the host area. Matches would be played at Maitland No. 1 Sportsground and Newcastle Sportsground No 2 with the Finals to be held at McDonald Jones Stadium, which holds 33,000 fans.
Teams, officials and tournament staff will be accommodated in an “Athletes Village” style camp.
The Australian bid is also supported by government.
Meanwhile France and Portugal have not shared fuller details of their bid yet nor confirmed the understanding that they have joined forces to bid together but we understood the host cities being considered were Lisbon, Perpignan and Montpellier.
WRWC2021 host selection process timelines
31 May 2018: Deadline for formal expressions of hosting interest from unions
1 June 2018: Bid documents distributed to interested unions
10 August 2018: Bid responses submitted by unions to World Rugby
14 November 2018: World Rugby Council selects Women's Rugby World Cup 2021 host