COVID-19 puts Women's 2021 Rugby World Cup in limbo

2021-Mar-04   11:13

COVID-19 puts Women's 2021 Rugby World Cup in limbo
New Zealand won the 2017 edition of the tournament, beating England in the final

- Karabo Mokgalagadi

The Coronavirus continues to affect women’s sport, this time the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup.

World Rugby announced this week that there is a possibility that the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup might be postponed to next year because of the coronavirus. The tournament was set to be played from 18 September to 16 October and hosted by New Zealand.

The world rugby body said challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for the tournament, both before and on arrival in New Zealand, as well as challenging global travel restrictions.

While acknowledging delaying the event until 2022 was "hugely disappointing", World Rugby interim chief executive, Alan Gilpin, said it was the right thing to do.

"Certainly this decision has players' interests at heart," he said.

"In recent weeks, through discussions with our key partners in New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand government, it's become clear that we do not have the level of certainty we need to collectively deliver the best environment for all teams," said Gilpin.

Meanwhile SA Rugby released a statement saying while it was disappointing for the Springbok Women’s team for the world cup to be postponed, it was an “understandable and sensible” decision.

“I share Springbok Women’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer and the team’s disappointment, especially after all the hard work they have been putting in since last year in preparation for the tournament,” said SA Rugby CEO, Jurie Roux.

The recommendation to postpone the tournament will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.

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