Black Ferns to open World Cup campaign against Australia at Eden Park

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The defending champion Black Ferns will meet Australia at Eden Park in their opening game of the Rugby World Cup in September.

The Women's Rugby World Cup and ball on display during the Rugby World Cup 2021 Draw event.

Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The game will be a part of an opening day triple header at the Auckland ground.

The match schedule, released on Friday, with six games on the opening day, including another triple-header at the Northland Events Centre in Whangarei.

The 44,000 capacity Eden Park will also host the semi-finals on Saturday 9 October and the bronze final and on Saturday 16 October.

For the first time there will also be quarter-finals with those shared between Whangarei and Waitakere Stadium.

The 12 teams will compete across three days of pool matches on Saturday 18 September, Thursday 23 September and Tuesday 28 September.

New Zealand’s pool games are against Australia at Eden Park, Wales at Waitakere Stadium and a final qualifier in Whangarei.

The USA will have the honour of opening the tournament, playing a European qualifier in Whangarei at 11:45am on 18 September.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said there momentum was building leading into the final months before Rugby World Cup 2021 kicks off.

“There is a very real, unstoppable momentum building behind the rise of women in rugby now and 2021 will be a year like no other, providing a unique opportunity to continue to accelerate the growth and profile of the sport, as women’s rugby rightly is set to own centre stage this year.”

Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director Michelle Hooper said that with the announcement of the match schedule, anticipation of the tournament and the hotly contested action it will deliver, is expected to build significantly.

“It will give fans a taste of the excitement from the first kick-off and have them hooked to attend or watch every match of the tournament, in a schedule that promises to deliver an action-packed and intense competition.”

Black Ferns captain Eloise Blackwell added: “I remember how cool Rugby World Cup 2011 was and never dreamt that I would get the opportunity to play at a World Cup on home soil, let alone be kicking it off against Australia at Eden Park – it is going to be amazing.”

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