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RFU & NZRU sign three-year women’s international test agreement

02 August 2011

  • England Women to play the world champions in 2011, 2012 & 2013
  • The world’s top two teams to meet nine times ahead of WRWC 2014
England and New Zealand womens players line up

Photo: rugbymatters.net

England Women will play the reigning World Champions, New Zealand, in three back-to-back tests in 2011, 2012 and 2013, resulting in a tantalising nine games between the world’s top two ranked teams.

The Rugby Football Union is delighted to announce this exciting new and unprecedented three year agreement between the RFU and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

England will host three tests in the autumn of 2011 and 2012 before heading to New Zealand for three further matches in June 2013, just a year before the 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup. The agreement is a major step-forward for the women’s game with limited regular competition previously between the world’s top two teams.

England last played the four times world champions in the record breaking 2010 Women’s Rugby World Cup Final in London which the hosts narrowly lost 10-13. Before that they had played New Zealand in just two tests in four years.

Rosie Williams, Managing Director of the Rugby Football Union for Women, said: "We are really excited about this announcement. It is the first time that we have had a three year commitment to play New Zealand and this will do wonders from both a playing and profile perspective.

"This agreement is the icing on the cake for us. We now have regular tests against the current World Champions, as well against the USA and Canada in the Nations Cup, and of course Europe’s best in the Women’s RBS 6 Nations.

"We could not have delivered this significant improvement to our competition programme without the support of our colleagues at the RFU. This agreement is a testament to how serious women’s rugby is now being taken in England."

NZRU General Manager Professional Rugby Neil Sorensen said: "This is a huge step forward for us and the Black Ferns. We have been working for a number of years to find meaningful opportunities and opponents for the Black Ferns and we are grateful to the RFU for making this possible.

"To know that we are going to see the world’s two top women’s rugby teams in action for nine internationals over the next three years is really exciting. It will be hugely beneficial for both teams as they prepare for the Women’s Rugby World Cup.

"We have not only achieved a regular programme against quality opposition but we have also been able to create a fantastic touring opportunity for these teams funded in large part by the RFU which demonstrates the respect that is held for our world champions."

England and New Zealand will play their first test on November 26 with the second and third tests on November 29 and December 3. All venues and kick off times will be confirmed in due course.