Rugby World Cup success lays platform for women's game to go 'well beyond' men's, says World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin

"The single biggest opportunity facing the sport right now."

That's how World Rugby's boss Alan Gilpin sees the women's game, after the overwhelming success of the Rugby World Cup held in New Zealand.

Gilpin is committed to driving growth and investment going forward, as the sport's governing body eyes lofty ambitions for the women's game.

Scenes like a packed Eden Pack for the Black Ferns' sixth World Cup victory were only a pipe dream in years gone by, but a new dawn seems to be rising for the women's game and World Rugby is out to capitalise on it.

"The platform that, not just this tournament, but the game is creating for the women's game is to go well beyond where men's rugby is," World Rugby Alan Gilpin told Newshub.

The outlook is ambitious, but Gilpin is confident it's achievable.

At the heart of it will be the introduction of a new international competition called 'WXV'.

Made up of 18 teams across three divisions, with promotion and relegation, the annual competition will start next October - a bid to supercharge the women's game.

"How can we make sure the women's game is getting the focus it deserves and needs, and we see this as an incredible growth driver for the sport," Gilpin said.

With an expanded 16-team World Cup format slated for 2025, Gilpin feels women's rugby is now in an ideal position to prosper.

"The women's game is the biggest single opportunity for growth in our sport," Gilpin said. "What we really need and have needed are moments like this to showcase that."

While meaningful progression is on its way at international level, Black Ferns No.8 Charmaine McMenamin feels investment is needed across the board at home.

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin.
World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin. Photo credit: Getty Images

"I'm talking about [Super Rugby] Aupiki, our FPC competition... there's a lot more money that goes into those competitions, because those are the competitions that feed into this team," McMenamin told Newshub.

Super Rugby Aupiki will run in its full format for the first time next year and Newshub understands NZ Rugby is close to finalising a crossover finals series with Super W in Australia.

But as the women's game grows, Gilpin also urges some caution.

"What we've got to be careful of in the women's game, as we start to grow, is that we don't just replicate what we've done in the men's game," Gilpin says.

Just how successful that can be is about to be put to the test.

Watch the full story above or the extended interview here