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WXV 2 Tournament Preview

Rachel Malcolm - pic © Peter Watt/N50 Images
Rachel Malcolm - pic © Peter Watt/N50 Sports

The inaugural WXV 2 tournament takes place in South Africa across three weekends in October. This is the second tier of the new global women’s rugby championship that will initially include relegation to the third level but will also, in future years, feature promotion to the top tier as as well as functioning as final qualifiers for the next World Cup.

How it works

Scotland’s fourth-place finish in the Six Nations saw them automatically qualify for WXV 2 (the top three sides having gone into the top tier WXV 1) to play in a six-team pool with another European side, one team each from Oceania, Africa and Asia plus the lowest ranked country from a cross-regional tournament between sides from Oceania and North America.

The six teams are split into two mini-pools of three and only play the sides in the other mini-pool. All points gained are aggregated into a single table. Although not yet confirmed yet, it seems reasonable to expect that tiebreakers will be consistent with other World Rugby tournaments, namely:

  • Result in head to head match (if played);
  • Points difference;
  • Tries difference;
  • Points scored;
  • Tries scored;
  • World ranking.

At the end of pool play the sixth-placed regional position (not the specific team) will be relegated to WXV 3. There is no promotion spot for the first-placed regional position in WXV 2 during the first cycle of the tournament (up until 2026).

Next year’s edition of WXV will provide the final opportunity to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2025 in England, with the top six non-qualified sides in WXV heading to the newly expanded 16-team RWC.

In practical terms, with 4 teams automatically heading to the World Cup and another 6 progressing through regional tournaments, this should mean that if Scotland can repeat their feat of qualifying for WXV 2 in 2024 this will almost certainly secure their place at the next World Cup as well (if they haven’t already done so of course!)

Broadcast coverage

Where a broadcaster is not showing WXV 2 fixtures, then live streaming will be available for free on RugbyPass TV.

  • New Zealand – Sky
  • South Africa – SuperSport

Tickets

If you fancy a trip to South African springtime sunshine, tickets are available here and cost the equivalent of £1.05 (or £2.10 for a family of 4) for access to all 3 fixtures on each matchday weekend.

Other sides in WXV 2

Teams that Scotland will play:

USA
Current world ranking:
7th (Scotland are 9th)
Qualification route to WXV 2:
finished 4th in Pacific Four Series 2023 behind New Zealand, Canada and Australia
Most recent meeting:
Scotland 17 – 21 USA, 27th August 2022 at DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh

Japan
Current world ranking:
10th
Qualification route to WXV 2:
winners of the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2023
Most recent meeting:
Scotland 36 – 12 Japan, 14th November 2021 at DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh

South Africa
Current world ranking:
12th
Qualification route to WXV 2:
winners of the Rugby Africa Women’s Cup 2023
Most recent meeting:
South Africa 15 – 38 Scotland, 5th October 2019 at City Park Sports Grounds, Cape Town

Teams that Scotland won’t play:

Italy
Current world ranking:
8th
Qualification route to WXV 2:
finished 5th in Six Nations 2023 then won a playoff against Spain (the Rugby Europe Women’s Championship 2023 winners)

Samoa
Current world ranking:
16th
Qualification route to WXV 2:
winners of the Oceania Rugby Women’s 15s Championship

Scotland’s fixtures

Friday 13th October
Danie Craven Stadium, Stellenbosch

Scotland v South Africa 15:30 (all times BST)

Friday 20th October
Athlone Stadium, Cape Town

Scotland v USA 13:00

Friday 27th October
Athlone Stadium, Cape Town

Scotland v Japan 13:00

Prospects

With a little over 3 ranking points separating USA (74.65) from Japan (71.31) and with Italy and Scotland squeezed in between them, this should be a hotly contested tournament, with places in the world’s top 10 on the line.

Scotland will head into their fixtures confident that they are capable of beating all 3 of the sides they are due to face. It’s going to require a continuation of – and improvement on – their strong play from latter part of the 2023 Six Nations though.

3 wins from 3 may well be required to win the tournament – and even that might not be enough with tiebreakers coming into play if Italy match the Scots’ results.

This current side is capable of scoring tries from anywhere and will be very entertaining to watch. If the forwards buckle down and win the battle up front the way they have in their last 3 games against Ireland, Italy and Spain then the dark blues will have a great chance of emerging victorious from WXV 2 at the end of this month.


For more on the buildup to WXV 2 check out Magnus Peacock’s article on the ins and outs for Scotland’s squad.


Team v South Africa

Scotland: Chloe Rollie, Rhona Lloyd, Emma Orr, Lisa Thomson, Francesca McGhie, Helen Nelson, Mairi McDonald; Leah Bartlett, Lana Skeldon, Christine Belisle, Emma Wassell, Sarah Bonar, Rachel Malcolm (capt), Rachel McLachlan, Evie Gallagher.
Replacements: Elis Martin, Anne Young, Lisa Cockburn, Louise McMillan, Jade Konkel, Caity Mattinson, Meryl Smith, Liz Musgrove.

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Gregor Townsend has picked the strongest XV possible from his touring squad for the visit to Washington DC to play the USA, writes Rory.

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