On Tuesday, SA Rugby welcomed the announcement by World Rugby on the launch of their new global sixteen-team, three-tiered annual women’s rugby competition.
“Underscoring its commitment to increase competition, commercial and fan engagement opportunities while raising competitiveness of the women’s game on the road to an expanded 16-team Rugby World Cup 2025, World Rugby has launched WXV, a three-tiered annual competition model that will start in 2023,” the organisation says.
The WXV competition, which received an investment of £6.4 million (about R95 008 302), will include 16 teams that will compete during the September-October global competition window, excluding in the year that a World Cup is hosted.
“Recognising that globally women’s high-performance programmes are currently at differing levels and stages, World Rugby is committed to work in partnership with unions to support collective ambitions to progress women’s high-performance programmes forward in a realistic and appropriate pace of development to ensure optimal performance within the WXV,” World Rugby says.
In response to the announcement, SA Rugby said that the Springboks could qualify for WXV2 by being one of the top teams from Oceania, Asia and Africa. They could also qualify in WXV3 if they win the play-off match between an African and a South American team.
🏉 Great news for women's rugby globally and in SA
🏏 Proteas Women have shown the way recently
🗣️ "The more they play the more they improve"
🔗 Full story here: https://t.co/ieMQ2Y8WbR@OfficialCSA @Springboks pic.twitter.com/4n6VjWECW5
— Springbok Women (@WomenBoks) March 16, 2021
The team’s coach Stanley Raubenheimer said that a team does not only improve with regular training but also through playing more matches. Raubenheimer says this is shown in the improvement of the Proteas cricket and netball teams as well as Banyana Banyana.
Congratulating the Proteas on their series win over India Raubenheimer said, “They have shown great progress in recent years and apart from taking great pride in their performances, they have come to show yet again that with regular competition, the sky is the limit, which is another reason why we are really looking forward to World Rugby’s new plans.”
The Springbok squad now stands at 40 players after 16 players were added to the initial squad of 24.
Raubenheimer says that they are assessing all players and see how the group interacts as they prepare for the SA Rugby Women’s Interprovincial Competition later this year.