Canada will join Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. at the Pacific Four Series women’s rugby tournament later this year.
The third edition of the competition will take place over three windows starting with a Canada-U. S. matchup April 1 in Madrid. The second round will see Australia host defending champion New Zealand in late June.
The tournament will then wrap up in Canada in early July when all four teams will compete over two weekends. No. 4 Canada will face No. 2 New Zealand and No. 6 Australia and the seventh-ranked Americans take on New Zealand and Australia.
Dates and venues for the Australia and Canada rounds will be announced at a later date.
The Pacific Four Series will serve as a qualifying tournament for WXV, a new three-tier women’s international 15s competition. WXV will serve as a pathway to the 2025 World Cup with at least the five top-ranked, non-qualified teams at the end of WXV 2024 qualifying for the tournament.
The top three finishers at the Pacific Four Series will qualify for WXV 1 with the fourth-placed team going to WXV 2.
WXV 1 will feature six teams playing in a cross-pool format, as a stand-alone tournament in one location. The top three from the Pacific Series will be join the top three teams from the Women’s Six Nations (Europe).
There will be no promotion or relegation in the first cycle of WXV 1.
WXV 2 competition will consist of six teams: two from Europe, the fourth-placed team from the Pacific Four Series and one team from each of Oceania, Asia and Africa
The sixth-placed finisher in WXV 2 competition at the end of each season will be relegated to WVX 3.
The WXV third tier will be made up of six teams: two from Europe and one each from Asia, Oceania, Africa and South America. The group winner will be promoted to WXV 2 while the fate of the bottom team will be decided by a playoff with the next best side in the World Rugby rankings.
Host locations for WXV will be announced next month.
Alison Hughes, World Rugby’s head of women’s competitions, noted that the opening Canada-U.S. game is taking place during a break in the English and French leagues due to the Women’s Six Nations. Having the game in Madrid also takes advantage of the “significant number” of Canadian and U.S. players based in Europe.
Canada will play South Africa and the U.S. will face Spain on March 25 in advance of the April window. The matches will take place at Madrid’s Estadio Nacional de la Universidad Complutense. Spain and South Africa will also meet on April 1.