Puneet Varma (Editor)

2010 Women's Rugby World Cup

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Host nation  England
Champions  New Zealand
Top scorer(s)  Kelly Brazier (48)
No. of nations  12
Matches played  30
2010 Women's Rugby World Cup

Dates  Friday 20 August 2010 – Sunday 5 September 2010

The 2010 Women's Rugby World Cup was the sixth edition of the Women's Rugby World Cup and was being held in England. The International Rugby Board Executive Committee selected the host union following a recommendation from the Rugby World Cup Limited board after considering bids from the Rugby Football Union and the German Rugby Union – it had been England's third successive bid after being rejected in 2002 and 2006. The tournament was again being organised by the International Rugby Board (IRB) as opposed to the host union, and included five matches for all teams played on 20, 24, 28 August and 1 and 5 September. In May 2009 it was announced that the semi final, 3rd place play off and final would take place at The Stoop and not Twickenham as had previously been suggested. Pool games were held at the Surrey Sports Park in Guildford.


Interest in the tournament was far higher than had been anticipated. It was broadcast to 127 countries and all 2,500 seats at the opening two days of pool games were sold out, as was the third day despite the capacity being raised to 3,200. The semi-finals attracted over 6,000 spectators, while the final drew a crowd of 13,253 – a world record for a women's rugby international – and well as a worldwide TV audience of (according to IRB figures) half a million.

The competition was won by New Zealand who beat England 13–10 in the final.

Three tries from the tournament were shortlisted for the IRB's "Try of the Year" award.

Qualification process

When the winning bid to host the World Cup was announced in September 2008, Bernard Lapasset (Rugby World Cup Limited Board Chairman) promised that:

"These two tournaments [the Sevens and XVs World Cups], in conjunction with a global qualification process and existing tournament structures, will guarantee an unprecedented level of elite Women's competition for around 90 Unions over the next two years. This expanded competition pathway underpinned by the Women's Strategic Plan point to what promises to be the most competitive Women's Rugby World Cup ever in 2010".

However, when details of the qualification process were released in March 2009 it was revealed that most IRB members would not be given an opportunity to compete for a place. Qualification tournaments took place in two regions – Europe and Asia – while in Oceania two nations played off in a single game for one place. Elsewhere the IRB nominated the "qualifying" nation, all other nations in these regions were excluded. Even where qualification tournaments took place the majority of rugby playing countries did not take part.

No official explanation was given by the IRB, but at the time of the Oceania qualifier it was reported that the non-participation of some nations – including Fiji and Papua New Guinea – was due to financial difficulties.

The process was:

Europe: 6 representatives

  • England and France qualified directly as runner-up and third place in the WRWC 2006
  • Wales and Ireland qualified for the Tournament as second and third in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations
  • Scotland and Sweden, qualify as top two teams from the 2009 FIRA-AER Women's European Trophy, held in Sweden from 17–23 May 2009. This competition was made up of the 5th and 6th placed six nations teams (Scotland and Italy) as well as Spain, Netherlands, Russia, Sweden, Germany and Belgium
  • Americas: 2 representatives

  • USA and Canada qualified directly
  • Africa: 1 representative

  • South Africa qualified directly
  • Asia: 1 representative

  • Kazakhstan won the ARFU Women's XV Tournament, defeating Japan in the final, to qualify as the Asia representative
  • Oceania: 2 representatives

  • New Zealand qualified directly as winner of the WRWC 2006
  • Australia beat Samoa in a one off match to determine the second FORU representative at the WRWC 2010. A four team tournament had been planned with Fiji as the proposed host, but Fiji declined invitations to host or enter the tournament, citing the size of the entry fee (A$36,000), though the women's association president, Adi Vela Naucukidi, complained that the Fiji RFU had taken the decision without consulting them, or giving them an opportunity to raise the money. Shortly afterwards Papua New Guinea also withdrew for financial reasons
  • Tickets and sponsorship

    Tickets had been available since 22 March 2010 and they could be purchased online at Ticketmaster or by phone, with an innovative ticketing structure based on some tournament passes and individual match day tickets.
    Thirteen matches were broadcast live through a platform provided by host broadcaster Sky Sports in 127 territories to a potential audience of 227 million homes, smashing the 2006 World Cup benchmark in Canada (75 territories and a potential reach of 97 million homes). The programming hours was increased from 60 in 2006 to 220 in this edition.
    The commercial partners of the tournament were Nike, Heineken, the Coca-Cola Company's sports drink Powerade, Holiday Inn, British rugby equipment supplier Rhino Rugby, University of Surrey and UK National Lottery.

    Match officials

    In December 2009, the IRB announced a panel of 14 match officials for the tournament, including seven world's leading female referees and three specialist assistant referees with previous Women's Rugby World Cup experience.
    England's Clare Daniels officiated the opening match between Canada and Scotland, while Australian Sarah Corrigan refereed the final between England and New Zealand.


    The competition was contested over 16 days and 30 matches between 12 nations, divided into three pools of four teams. The tournament began on 20 August at Surrey Sports Park with a match between Canada and Scotland and ended with the final held at Twickenham Stoop on 5 September between England and New Zealand.

    Pool stage

    Defending champions New Zealand, hosts and 2006 runners-up England and 2006 bronze winners France all ranked top seeds in their pool. Teams played each other in each pool on a round robin basis, while match points were awarded according to the international standards: 4 points for a win, 2 points for a draw, 1 point for scoring 4 or more tries or for losing by 7 or less than 7 points.
    At the end of the pool stage, the teams in a pool were ranked according to their cumulative match points. If two or more teams had been level, the following criteria would have been used in this order until one of the teams could be determined as the higher ranked:

  • the winner of the match between the two tied teams;
  • the team with the best points difference;
  • the team with the best tries difference;
  • the team with more scored points;
  • the team with more scored tries;
  • a toss of coin.
  • Ranking finals

    The teams were seeded based on the position in which they finished in their respective pools and the points scored during the pool stage. The three pool winners and the best runner-up went through to the semi-finals. The other two runners-up and the best two 3rd-place finishers went into a sort of a competition for 5th place, whilst the bottom three teams competed for 9th place.
    The ranking finals were set as it follows:

  • 1st seed vs 4th seed;
  • 2nd seed vs 3rd seed;
  • 5th seed vs 8th seed;
  • 6th Seed vs 7th seed;
  • 9th seed vs 12th seed;
  • 10th seed vs 11th seed.
  • Finals

    If teams had been tied at full-time, the winner would have been determined through a 10-minutes extra time (the first team to score any points would have been declared the winner) or eventually a kicking competition (five players from each team would have kicked from three different points on the 22 metre line).


    2010 Women's Rugby World Cup Wikipedia