England Women will play the reigning World Champions, New Zealand, in three
back-to-back tests in 2011, 2012 and 2013, resulting in a tantalising nine
games between the world’s top two ranked teams.
The Rugby Football Union is delighted to announce this exciting new and
unprecedented three year agreement between the RFU and the New Zealand Rugby
England will host three tests in both the autumn of 2011 and 2012 before
heading to New Zealand for three further tests in June 2013, just a year
before the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The agreement is a major
step-forward for the women’s game with limited regular competition
previously between the world’s top two teams.
England last played the four times world champions in the record breaking
2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup Final in London which the hosts narrowly
lost 10-13. Before that they had played New Zealand in just two tests in
Rosie Williams, Managing Director of the Rugby Football Union for Women,
said: “We are really excited about this announcement. It is the first
time that we have had a three year commitment to play New Zealand and this
will do wonders from both a playing and profile perspective.
“This agreement is the icing on the cake for us. We now have regular
tests against the current World Champions, as well against the USA and
Canada in the Nations Cup, and of course Europe’s best in the
Women’s RBS 6 Nations.
“We could not have delivered this significant improvement to our
competition programme without the support of our colleagues at the RFU. This
agreement is a testament to how serious women’s rugby is now being
taken in England.”
NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said: “This is
a huge step forward for us and the Black Ferns. We have been working for a
number of years to find meaningful opportunities and opponents for the Black
Ferns and we are grateful to the RFU for making this possible.
“To know that we are going to see the world’s two top
women’s rugby teams in action for nine internationals over the next
three years is really exciting. It will be hugely beneficial for both
teams as they prepare for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.
“We have not only achieved a regular programme against quality
opposition but we have also been able to create a fantastic touring
opportunity for these teams funded in large part by the RFU which
demonstrates the respect that is held for our world champions.”
England and New Zealand will play their first test on November 26th with
the second and third tests on November 29th and December 3rd. All
venues and kick off times will be confirmed in due course.
photos Janos Schmidt