Great news. It’s about time the five time winners get to host the tournament, and it’s about the time it got held in the Southern Hemisphere.
The women’s game is on a roll at the moment; player numbers are on the rise, the Black Ferns are playing more regularly, and at international stadiums, and the Farah Palmer Cup is being extended with some matches being televised.
Hosting a World Cup here seems such an obvious progression.
So what is this nonsense? A World Cup to be held in… Auckland and Whangarei. Seriously. How have we got it so wrong?
That is not a nation hosting a World Cup; that is a very small part of a nation hosting a World Cup.
And this from a country that won hosting rights for the 2011 Men’s edition on the back of the slogan of “A Stadium of 4 million people”
And the PM’s quote that “It’s exciting to see the regional element to our bid. I know Northland will embrace games being held in their part of the country and their local support will be a key ingredient in its success.” rubs it in.
This is a slap in the face for the rest of the country. The people of Hamilton, Rotorua, and particularly Christchurch etc would embrace this, and deserve it.
The only driver for this can only possibly be cost reduction but what a false economy that is. And World Rugby has made a big move to increase recovery time, which has been an issue with previous tournaments.
However, the revised match schedule guaranteeing longer rest periods – four days between pool matches, and five or six days during the knock-out rounds – will greatly benefit player welfare by aiding recovery and preparation, while the addition of the quarter-final stage will allow teams a further opportunity to play for a higher position. With the longer rest periods and additional play-off stage, the total tournament window will increase from 23 to 35 days.
New Zealand does not deserve to win the hosting rights for this. Put in a bid for the 2025 edition, and do it properly.