Damian Spellman
Press Association
May 5, 2023 12:35PM

England, France and Wales women's rugby teams will head for New Zealand in October as the world champions host the inaugural WXV tournament.

World Rugby has confirmed the venues and dates for the new three-tier competition, which seeks to increase "the competitiveness, reach and impact" of the 15-a-side women's game across the globe.

Eighteen teams will take part in the event, with the top six battling it out in WXV 1 in New Zealand across three weekends on October 21 and 28 and November 4, the next six contesting WXV 2 in South Africa over three weekends in October, and WXV 3 also in October but with the venue dependent on the nations qualifying.

The Wallaroos will aim to qualify for WXV 1 - which will feature the top three teams from the recently completed Six Nations - England, France and Wales - as well as the top three teams following the Pacific Four Series in July, involving Australia, the Black Ferns, USA and Canada.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said the tournament was part of a pledge at last year's Rugby World Cup to accelerate the women's game.

"Much progress is being made at rapid pace and today we are marking another milestone with confirmation of the dates and venues for the inaugural WXV competition," Beaumont said in a statement.

"With women and girls leading our strategy to grow the sport on a global basis, this competition will increase the reach and impact of the sport and drive the overall competitiveness of women's international rugby as we look forward to an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup 2025 in England and subsequent Rugby World Cups in Australia in 2029 and USA in 2033."

Each division in the annual tournament will be played out as a cross-pool format, with promotion and relegation - although not for the first two years leading up to the 2025 World Cup.