The Rugby World Cup 2021 European Qualifiers are set to take place as a single round-robin tournament held over three weekends in December. The dates announced by Rugby Europe are the weekends of 5th, 12th and 19th December 2020. The full schedule of fixtures are set to be announced in early November.
Originally, the European Qualifiers were due to take place in September but were postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The winners of the Rugby World Cup 2021 European Qualifiers will automatically qualify for the ninth staging of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand next year.
The runners-up of the tournament will progress to a final qualification tournament which is set to be organised by World Rugby in 2021.
Ireland will be joined at the European Qualifiers by Six Nations rivals Scotland and Italy. The Winner of the Women’s Rugby Europe Championship 2020, which is set to be completed in October, will make up the final team. The likes of Spain, Russia and the Netherlands make up some of the teams in the Europe Championship.
Last week, the Six Nations confirmed Ireland’s two outstanding fixtures from the 2020 Women’s Six Nations, against Italy and France, will be played on the weekends of 24 and 31 October respectively.
Anthony Eddy, the IRFU Director of Women’s and Sevens Rugby, welcomed the rescheduling of the fixtures.
“The Six Nations games will be enormously important for us. In one way, it’s great to be able to complete the Six Nations we commenced back in February but secondly to be able to utilise those very tough games against Italy and France will put us in good stead and we’ll use them as good preparation for the World Cup qualification process.” Eddy told IrishRugby.ie. “