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All you need to know about the Women’s Rugby World Cup England 2025 qualification pathway

The expanded 16-team tournament will be the biggest ever Women’s Rugby World Cup yet and is the result of years of positive progress in the women’s game. Underpinned by new competition and high-performance pathways, and a streamlined qualification process, it is set to supercharge the women’s game, creating a generational moment that will change the shape of the game forever.

As the host nation for RWC 2025, England have automatically qualified for the tournament, with Canada, France and New Zealand also securing direct qualification to the pinnacle event after finishing in the top four at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand (played in 2022). 

Regional competitions 

Six teams will qualify via regional competitions in 2024, with winners or highest non-qualified teams in Asia, Africa, Europe, Oceania, South America and World Rugby’s cross-regional competition, the Pacific Four Series, securing direct qualification. 

Women’s Six Nations 2024 (23 March-27 April) 

The tournament promises some exhilarating rugby action and keenly contested fixtures as Wales, Italy, Scotland and Ireland all compete for a place at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, with all four in the top 10 of the World Rugby Women’s Ranking powered by Capgemini at the start of the tournament. With France and defending champions England already qualified for RWC 2025, the next best placed team will secure the European spot in the showpiece event.  

Pacific Four Series 2024 (28 April-26 May) 

Fans can expect intense competition and thrilling fixtures during the Pacific Four Series, with two teams in contention for the coveted spot at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025. With Canada and New Zealand already qualified after reaching the RWC 2021 semi-finals, Australia and USA will be battling it out to be the next best-ranked team to secure their place at England 2025. Following their wins over France and Wales in WXV 1, Australia will be looking to maintain that momentum under new coach Jo Yapp, while USA will hope to launch their campaign with a statement of intent under new coach Sione Fukofuka. 

Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2024 (May) 

The Rugby Africa Women’s Cup will showcase the talents of four teams in Africa, with Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar and reigning champions South Africa going head-to-head in May. South Africa will enter the competition buoyed by their recent third-place finish in WXV 2 last year,  while Kenya finished WXV 3 on a high by defeating Colombia in their final match of the competition. The Rugby Africa Women’s Cup champions will claim the region’s direct spot at RWC 2025.  

Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 (22 May-1 June) 

Three teams will be vying for a place atWomen’s Rugby World Cup 2025, with hosts Hong Kong China, Kazakhstan and defending champions Japan battling it out in May. Japan’s victory last year saw the side claim their fifth title and their place in WXV 2, while runners-up Kazakhstan featured in WXV 3. Hong Kong China will be eager to make their Women’s Rugby World Cup return, having made their debut in the 2017 tournament. 

Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2024 (May-June) 

The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship will see Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga all eyeing up the chance to secure direct qualification. Last year’s competition saw Samoa lift the silverware for the first time ever after an enthralling 19-18 victory against Fiji. 

Sudamérica Rugby  

Over in South America, Colombia and Brazil will meet with both sides eager to qualify for a first-ever Rugby World Cup in 15s. Last year’s Sudamérica two-leg play-off saw Colombia defeat Brazil 24-23 and 30-19 at Estadio Cincuentenario in Medellín to claim their place in the inaugural WXV 3 tournament. Colombia previously reached the RWC 2021 Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai and missed out on a ticket to New Zealand after suffering a 59-3 defeat to Scotland. 

WXV 

The final opportunity to qualify for RWC 2025 will come via WXV, the three-level annual women’s 15s competition, with the top six ranked non-qualified teams at the end of WXV 2024 qualifying for the tournament. 

Qualification for WXV gets underway in March with unions from around the world competing to secure one of 18 spots across the relevant levels through their regional competitions. 

The draw for RWC 2025 will take place once WXV has completed in October to ensure all qualified teams are known.