WATCH | Siya Kolisi shows support for Imbokodo ahead of 2021 Rugby World Cup draw

21 October 2020 - 09:41 By unathi nkanjeni
The SA women's rugby team is gearing up for the 2021 World Cup draw.
The SA women's rugby team is gearing up for the 2021 World Cup draw.
Image: Screenshot

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi has shown his support for the SA women's rugby team as they get ready for the 2021 World Cup draw.

The Women's World Cup draw will take place on November 20 at the SkyCity Theatre in Auckland, New Zealand.

The ninth edition of the showcase tournament will take place from September 19 to October 16 2021 across three match venues in New Zealand. It will be contested by 12 teams, of which nine are already confirmed.

New Zealand, England, France, USA, Canada, Australia and Wales qualified directly for the 2021 World Cup, courtesy of a top-seven finish at the last tournament in Ireland in 2017.

Fiji and SA secured their places through the regional qualification process in 2019, via the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup and Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship.

The remaining three places will be filled by a qualifier from Asia and Europe together with the winner of the final qualification tournament. This is a first for a women’s Rugby World Cup, offering a second opportunity for teams to qualify.

The teams will be seeded according to “Bands”, with the top seven, according to the rankings, occupying Band 1 up to Band 3. The five teams to emerge from the qualification process will be placed into Band 3 and 4.

The bands are as follows:

  • Band 1 — New Zealand, England, Canada
  • Band 2 — France, Australia, USA
  • Band 3 — Wales, Europe 1, SA
  • Band 4 — Asia 1, Fiji, final qualifier winner

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said the draw marks an important milestone in the build-up towards the tournament.

“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,” said Beaumont.

“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 2017-25 Women in Rugby plan.”

According to tournament director Michelle Hooper plans are ramping up with the tournament now less than a year away.

“The official draw is another step on the journey towards kickoff, and the buzz is building. We can’t wait to welcome all 12 teams to Aotearoa, New Zealand, and showcase our manaakitanga (hospitality) to the world. The draw will determine who will play the first matches at Eden Park and Northland Events Centre, which is an exciting prospect,” said Hooper.

Taking to Instagram, the Rugby World Cup-winning captain wished the Imbokodo good luck with song and dance.

“Always honoured to be in the presence of such powerful and inspiring women. All the best with the preparation for the World Cup,” said Kolisi.

“Let’s back the women’s team as they prepare for next year’s World Cup.”