2025 Women's Rugby World Cup to start in Sunderland, finish at Twickenham

New Zealand's Kennedy Simon lifts the trophy with teammates after beating England in the 2021 final at Eden Park in Auckland in 2022

New Zealand's Kennedy Simon lifts the trophy with teammates after beating England in the 2021 final at Eden Park in Auckland in 2022. Photo: Marty Melville/AFP

Published Dec 11, 2023

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The north-east city of Sunderland will stage the opening match of the 2025 Women's Rugby World Cup in England, with the final of a "generational" event to be played at Twickenham, officials announced Monday.

England, runners-up at the last two editions, will kick off the tournament at the 48,707-seater Stadium of Light on August 22, with the final set to take place at Twickenham on September 27.

Playing the final at Twickenham, which has a capacity of 82,000, opens up the possibility of setting a new world record attendance for a women's international after the stadium hosted 58,498 spectators for England's victory over France this year.

"Women's Rugby World Cup England 2025 will be a generational moment for rugby," said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

"The biggest, most accessible and most widely-viewed, its unstoppable momentum will reach, engage and inspire new audiences in ways that rugby events have not done before."

Sarah Hunter, captain of the England women's team that lost 34-31 to hosts New Zealand in the Covid-delayed 2021 World Cup final in Auckland last year, was delighted her native region was staging the first match of the 2025 edition.

"I am so proud to be from the north-east and I know how much sport means to people here," said Hunter, who bowed out from the international game in March after playing her 141st Test against Scotland.

"The game is massive here and I think because we're so far away, we sometimes get forgotten about, but to rubber-stamp it by hosting that first game here, we can show everyone how great the people are and what a great host city it can be."

The 38-year-old, now a member of England's coaching staff, added: "Having played in the last two and fallen short in the final, we will definitely set our eyes on winning this home World Cup."

AFP

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