- Excitement continues to build for the 10th edition of the women’s pinnacle tournament with England set to host biggest ever celebration of women’s rugby
- Sunderland’s Stadium of Light to host the opening match on 22 August, 2025
- England’s Red Roses to open the tournament in the North East
- Record-breaking attendance targeted for the final at Twickenham Stadium
With women’s rugby breaking new ground on and off the pitch, up to 49,000 fans from the North East of England and beyond will have a golden opportunity to watch world’s number one ranked team, the Red Roses, in action on the evening of Friday, 22 August as they kick off the 10th edition of the pinnacle event, which has been expanded to 16 teams.
Twickenham’s hosting of the final on Saturday, 27 September 2025 will be a symbolic and fitting finale to a tournament that aims to capture hearts and headlines around the world, galvanising the next generation of fans, players and partners around one of sport’s most exciting spectacles. In doing so, organisers hope to smash the 58,498 attendance record by selling out one of the world’s most iconic sporting venues.
A joint venture between World Rugby, the RFU, with support from the UK Government, England 2025 aims to be a spectacular celebration of women’s rugby, women’s sport and England, an era-defining tournament that will set new standards, attract new audiences and provide an exciting catalyst to nationwide and global rugby growth.
Five weeks of action-packed matches will culminate with the Women’s Rugby World Cup final, which will be held at the historic home of England rugby, Twickenham Stadium, with sights set on achieving world record audiences both in stadia and across all fan platforms.
An era-defining tournament
For the first time ever, the expanded showcase event will be hosted across eight venues and cities around the country with 16 teams competing to be crowned world champions. The countrywide format makes it the most accessible Women’s Rugby World Cup ever, offering an unparalleled opportunity across the five-week schedule for fans to see, engage with and support the stars of the women’s game in towns and cities around England.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Women’s Rugby World Cup England 2025 will be a generational moment for rugby. 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.
“The selection of Sunderland for the opening match underscores that mission. We want this to be a sports event that everyone is talking about, that everyone wants to be a part of and one that inspires young people to be a part of.”
Sunderland lights up
Today, 60 young women’s and girls’ players from Sunderland got the unique opportunity to be coached by Red Roses’ transition coach and the world’s most-capped women’s player, Sarah Hunter at the Stadium of Light to mark the occasion.
Speaking at the event, Hunter said: “It’s been a real privilege to be part of today’s announcement of the opening and closing venues of Rugby World Cup 2025 and to meet so many talented rugby players from the North East.
“The Red Roses opening game of the tournament at the Stadium of Light will be an amazing experience for the players and fans and having witnessed the electric atmosphere of almost sixty thousand watching the Red Roses at Twickenham earlier this year, I’ve every confidence it will sell out for the final.”
Hosting preparations advancing
Managing Director, Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025, Sarah Massey who was also present added: “We’ve been working in collaboration with our cities and venues teams to engage with the local communities and maximise opportunities to give them an unforgettable and inclusive fan experience.
“This is the era of women’s sport and women’s rugby will make its biggest, boldest statement in 2025. With tickets going on sale next year, our message to rugby, sport and major event fans is mark your diaries now for the event of 2025. It will be massive.”
RFU Executive Director of Rugby Development and Rugby World Cup 2025 Board Member, Steve Grainger said: “Both the Stadium of Light and Twickenham Stadium, as hosts of the opening and closing matches, along with the other six tournament venues evidences the RFU’s tournament goal of boosting development of the sport right around the country and achieving our ambition to have 100,000 female players by 2027.
“To drive forward this work we are delighted to be working closely with Sport England, the UK Government and other organisations to create a transformational legacy programme. We are very grateful to Government for committing funding to this transformational tournament.”
The perfect opener
Also in attendance in Sunderland was Sports Minister, Stuart Andrew who added: “Sunderland’s Stadium of Light will provide the perfect opening act for what is set to be a record-breaking tournament of women’s rugby.
“The Government is a proud supporter of Rugby World Cup 2025, which will inspire women and girls all over the country to pick up a ball and follow in the footsteps of their heroes.”
Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: “It’s incredibly exciting for Sunderland to be playing host to the opening game of the Women’s Rugby World Cup at the Stadium of Light.
“The last few years have seen a massive surge of interest in women’s rugby and women’s sport in general, so having the opportunity to cheer on the Red Roses in a World Cup match so close to home is brilliant news for sports fans across the North East.
“It’s also a wonderful opportunity for our city and our region to shine on the international stage and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming fans from across the world when the biggest ever celebration of women’s rugby kicks off in Sunderland in August 2025.”
Canada, England, France and New Zealand have already qualified for Women’s Rugby World Cup 2025 after finishing in the top four at RWC 2021, with the remaining positions to be filled via WXV and regional competitions in 2024. Commercial demand also continues to grow with four official partners – Mastercard, Capgemini, Gallagher and Mitsubishi Electric – already on board for England 2025.
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