Women's Rugby World Cup to be expanded from 12 to 16 teams from 2025

The women's game has been on the rise
The women's game has been on the rise

World Rugby has confirmed that the women's edition of the Rugby World Cup will see an increase in number of teams from 12 to 16 from 2025 onwards.

The decision follows after the governing body wants to accelerate the women's sport which has seen a rapid rise and is now accounting for 28% of the global playing population.

With the draws for the 2021 edition already announced, World Rugby in a statement said they want to seize on the opportunity from the 2025 edition.

"Women's rugby is the single greatest opportunity to grow the sport globally," said World Rugby chair Sir Bill Beaumont.

"In 2017 we set out an ambitious eight-year plan to accelerate the development of women in rugby, with a core pillar focussing on high-performance competition and an ambition to improve and expand the number of teams competing in pinnacle events.

"We have seen in recent years that more teams are making a statement at international level and unions are continuing to develop their women's high-performance programmes.

"This is a milestone moment for the women's game, expansion of the Rugby World Cup opens additional aspirational and inspirational playing pathway opportunities for unions at the highest level of the game and creates added incentive for unions worldwide to continue to invest and grow in their women's programmes."

The 2021 World Cup will be played in New Zealand between 18th September and 16th October. The host for the 2025 World Cup will be decided by May 2022.