In a land mark move for women’s rugby union, the WXV tournament has been launched and will begin in 2023.
World Rugby is investing £6.4m into a tournament that will provide international test rugby to 16 teams.
The WXV competition will be played in September and October, expect from in World Cup years.
The tournament will also help sides prepare for the 2025 World Cup, a tournament that has been expanded to feature 16 international teams.
This announcement comes just a week after the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand was pushed back to 2022.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont told the BBC that the the plan would, “accelerate the development of the women’s game”.
How will the tournament work?
The brand new tournament will feature a three-tier system, and will require qualification from teams around the world.
The Women’s Six Nations must be completed by June each year, and will determine qualification for the WXV.
There will also be a competition featuring Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA to establish qualification for the top tier of WXV.
WXV 1, will involve six teams in two pools playing three matches each at a standalone tournament and there will be no promotion or relegation from the first cycle.
WXV 2 will feature two teams from Europe and one of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. One team from Oceania and one from Asia and Africa will also feature.
The team who finish bottom of WXV 2 will be relegated, and the team that finish top of WXV 3 will be promoted.
WXV 3 will consist of two teams from Europe, one from Asia and the winner of an Africa vs South America round robin tournament.
The location and exact dates for the tournament are still to be decided.