Women's Rugby World Cup 2021: Black Ferns to face Australia in tournament opener

The Black Ferns will face archrivals Australia on September 18 at Eden Park to open their Women's Rugby World Cup campaign. 

USA will face a European qualifier to kick off the tournament at Whangārei's Northland Events Centre at 11.45am, with five other games scheduled that day.

The draw features three round-robin match days played over 11 days - featuring two matches from each pool - with the other match days being played on Thursday, September 23 and Tuesday, September 28.

The Black Ferns are drawn against Australia, Wales and a final qualifier, as the New Zealanders look to defend their title from 2017. 

The matches will be split between Whangārei, and Auckland’s Waitākere Stadium and Eden Park. 

The quarter-finals will follow on October 3, with doubleheaders at Waitākere and Northland Events Centre, before both semi-finals are held at New Zealand's home of rugby, Eden Park, on October 9. 

The tournament will close on October 16, with the bronze-medal match and the final held at Eden Park. 

The World Cup will see the addition of a quarter-finals stage for the first time and longer rest periods between matches, which increases the total tournament window from 23 to 35 days, while squad sizes will increase from 28 to 30 players.

The changes reflect World Rugby’s commitment to player welfare and to accelerate the development of the women’s game. 

Black Ferns' Rugby World Cup schedule:


Saturday, September 18 v Australia, Eden Park, 7.15pm

Thursday, September 23 v Wales, Waitākere Stadium, 4.45pm

Tuesday, September 28 v final qualifier winner, 4.45pm


Sunday, October 3, Waitākere, 1.15pm & 4.15pm; Whangārei 4.15pm & 7.15pm


Saturday, October 9, Eden Park, 4.30pm & 7.30pm

Bronze playoff

Saturday, October 16, Eden Park, 4.30pm


Saturday, October 16, Eden Park, 7.30pm