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Canada to host 2024 WXV 1 tournament with top women's rugby teams converging on B.C.

British Columbia will host the 2024 edition of WXV 1, the elite division of a three-tiered women's 15s rugby competition that debuted last year.

WXV 1 features the top three teams from the 2024 Pacific Four Series and the top three from the 2024 Guinness Women’s Six Nations.

The Canadian women, currently ranked fourth in the world, finished second in the inaugural 2023 competition won by top-ranked England in New Zealand.

The 2024 tournament will be contested across three consecutive weekends in September and October, with "select games" at B.C. Place Stadium.

Games will be played Sept. 27-29 and Oct. 4-6 and 11-13 with a detailed schedule to be released at a later date. Rugby Canada says while all the matches will take place in the Lower Mainland, not all will be at B.C. Place.

Ottawa hosted the 2023 Pacific Four Series last July, with Ottawa’s TD Place drawing a record-setting crowd for a Canadian women's home match of 10,092 to watch Canada's 52-21 loss to No. 2 New Zealand.

“This edition of WXV is an especially important one as it leads into a Rugby World Cup year in 2025,” Rugby Canada CEO Nathan Bombrys said in a statement. “We are honoured and excited to be welcoming the best teams in the world this fall to North America’s rugby city for this pinnacle event, and believe that hosting this tournament on home soil will contribute to the growth of rugby across the country.”

WXV 2 will take place in South Africa with WXV 3 in Dubai.

“The tournament plays a fundamental role in helping us to grow women’s rugby and provides more opportunities for players, showcases the game to more fans and inspires more girls to play," said Sally Horrox, World Rugby's chief of women’s rugby.

Wednesday's announcement came one day after Rugby Canada revealed that the Canadian men will play two games in Ottawa and one in Vancouver this summer.

The home tests are welcome revenue generators for Rugby Canada.

Before last year's Pacific Four Series, only two of the Canadian women's previous 46 test matches were on home soil — with 2022 World Cup warmup games in July in Langford, B.C., (a 34-24 win over Italy) and in August in Halifax (a 31-3 win over Wales).

The 2024 Pacific Four Series will see Canada play matches in Australia, New Zealand and the U.S.

The U.S. will host Canada on April 27 in the tournament opener. Australia and New Zealand will stage the remaining matches in May.

The Wallaroos will host Canada (on May 11) and the U.S. The Black Ferns, looking to win a third straight title and preserve their unbeaten record in the competition, will host the U.S., Canada (on May 19) and Australia.

This year's tournament will help determine qualification for the 2025 World Cup, although not for Canada.

World champion New Zealand, England, Canada and France booked their place by reaching the semifinals of the 2022 championship in New Zealand. Another six teams will qualify as regional tournament winners in 2024 (Asia Rugby Women’s Championship, Guinness Women’s Six Nations, Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship, Pacific Four Series, Rugby Africa Women’s Cup and Sudamerica playoff).

The final six spots will go to the highest-finishing WXV teams yet to qualify.

Eighth-ranked Scotland beat No. 11 Japan 38-7 to win WXV 2 last year while No. 10 Ireland edged No. 12 Spain 15-13 to take WXV 3.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2024

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press