Springbok Women’s coach, Stanley Raubenheimer, and SA Rugby’s high performance manager for women’s rugby, Lynne Cantwell, have emphasised the importance of effective planning following the announcement that the Rugby World Cup will run from October 8 to November 12 next year.
The tournament, which will mark the Springbok Women’s first appearance on rugby’s biggest stage since 2014, will play out at Eden Park and the Waitakere Stadium in Auckland, and the Northlands Events Centre in Whangarei.
In an exciting new development for the teams, World Rugby also announced that the tournament will feature increased rest periods that will see the event being extended from 35 to 43 days to accommodate a minimum of five rest days between matches.
The adapted competition format, which is expected to super-charge the schedule for players and fans alike, aligns with the approach recently approved for the men’s competition.
These changes also allowed for a revamped tournament that will see all the matches take place on Saturdays and Sundays, with no overlaps.
“It is very good news to know that the Rugby World Cup dates have now been confirmed and it will certainly benefit us in terms of clarity in our planning,” said Raubenheimer.
“The fact that the tournament has been extended, which will see all matches being played over weekends, will also serve as a good opportunity for us from a recovery point of view.”
Cantwell was equally pleased about the announcement.
“We are delighted that there are confirmed dates, although we vaguely projected that it would be in this window,” she said.
“Certainty for athletes and the management team is a huge factor psychologically, and from a planning point of view as we can reverse roadmap back from that.”
According to Cantwell, the progression in the format of the competition is a huge positive too.
“This enables five days recovery between each game, and it will be excellent from a sponsorship point of view, as sponsors can hopefully activate more because the games will be on weekends,” she said.
“Over and above this, it marks another big step in terms of the robust structure which mirrors that of the men’s World Cup, which is obviously a professional set-up. It is a sign of the direction the women’s game is going in.”
The match schedule and broadcast times will be announced in due course.