From one exhilarating Women’s World Cup to another, women’s rugby will return to York, as the city is chosen as a co-host and venue for the Rugby World Cup 2025.
World Rugby and the RFU, with support from the UK Government, have confirmed that York and York Community Stadium will be one of the eight host cities and venues that will provide the stage for the biggest-ever celebration of women’s rugby.
Kicking off on 22 August and concluding with the Rugby World Cup final, on 27 September, the 10th edition of the showcase event has accessibility as its core and will be the most accessible games to date. The countrywide format means an unparalleled opportunity to see, engage with, and support the stars of the women’s game.
Following a competitive selection process, the final roster of host cities and venues reflects the tournament’s core mission of growing the sport, taking rugby across the country and engaging with diverse communities. All will provide a family-focused festival of rugby.
For the first time ever, the elite women’s rugby tournament will be hosted across eight venues and cities around the country with 16 teams competing to be crowned world champions.
The biggest-ever celebration of women’s rugby – the host cities and venues
• Brighton and Hove – Brighton and Hove Albion Stadium
• Bristol – Ashton Gate
• Exeter – Sandy Park
• London – Twickenham Stadium
• Manchester – Salford Community Stadium
• Northampton – Franklin’s Gardens
• Sunderland – Stadium of Light
• York – York Community Stadium
While the full match schedule and ticketing details will be announced next year, the milestone two-year celebration and confirmation of dates and venues provides the ability for fans across England to start to plan their Rugby World Cup 2025 experience.
Canada, England, France and New Zealand have already qualified for Rugby World Cup 2025 after finishing in the top four of RWC 2021, with the remaining positions to be filled via World Rugby’s new women’s international 15s tournament, WXV, and regional competitions in 2024.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Following the record-breaking success of Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand, women’s rugby has built an incredibly strong foundation and as one of the fastest growing sports in the world, RWC 2025 is set to take the game to the next level as the biggest celebration of women’s rugby with fans and players very much at its heart.
“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with all our partners as we strive to deliver a world-class and historic event that will leave a lasting legacy, both in England and around the world as we aim to inspire millions of new players and fans and continue to grow the game we love.”
Councillor Claire Douglas, Leader of City of York Council said: “I want to thank all the partners involved in our successful bid to host the Women’s Rugby Union World Cup. It is fantastic that once again York will play host to a world cup, with world-class female athletes living and playing in the city for a number of weeks.
We see time and time again the impact sport can have on people’s lives. This is demonstrated by the legacy of the Rugby League World Cup held in the city last year, and also the recent successes of the Lionesses in inspiring a new generation. Sport brings people together and can be great for our physical and mental wellbeing. We hope this tournament is a catalyst for increased participation at any of our fantastic community clubs.”
Sarah Loftus, Managing Director of Make It York, said: “We are absolutely delighted that York has been chosen as one of the host cities for the Rugby World Cup in 2025, and that we’ll be welcoming such fantastic international teams to our city for the tournament. This will be such a key event in the city’s calendar and really showcase York on the international stage with a sport that is forever growing in popularity.
We look forward to working with the Rugby World Cup and local organisations across York to make this a fantastic celebration of women’s sports, that both residents and visitors can enjoy.”
Glen Coultish, York RUFC Junior Chairman, said: “York Rugby Union are delighted to be playing a part in the Women’s Rugby Union World Cup. The timing is perfect as this season we have dedicated to growing the girls section to 80 plus girl players. The opportunity to see world cup squads play and train is fantastic for the whole club.”
Cat Tottie, Manager at York RI Women, said: “Women’s rugby has grown fast in recent years – when the Roses packed out Twickenham last year we proved the sport wasn’t just for the boys. As someone who didn’t start playing until I was an adult, I hope the Rugby World Cup coming to England will inspire a new generation of girls to look at our amazing sport and think – I want to get on pitch and be just as strong and fast as them.
“From grassroots teams to Premiership, the community that comes with women’s rugby is infectious, and there is no better time to start playing than now. And anything you can do to plug girls and women to start playing at York RI would be fab – we are recruiting now!”