With exactly two years until women’s rugby takes centre stage when England hosts the 2025 Rugby World Cup, World Rugby has today confirmed the venues and tournament dates – with Northampton set to play host to several fixtures throughout the competition.
Rugby World Cup 2025 is set to be the biggest-ever celebration of women’s rugby, and the home of Northampton Saints will be at the forefront throughout the tournament, which kicks off on 22 August before concluding in the Rugby World Cup Final on 27 September.
The tournament’s core mission of growing the sport, taking rugby across the country and engaging with diverse communities, sees eight towns and cities across England among the final list. As well as Northampton, Brighton & Hove (Bright & Hove Albion Stadium), Bristol (Ashton Gate), Exeter (Sandy Park), London (Twickenham Stadium), Manchester (Salford Community Stadium), Sunderland (Stadium of Light), and York (York Community Stadium) have all been selected as host venues.
While the full match schedule and ticketing details will be announced next year, the milestone two-year celebration and confirmation of dates and venues provides the ability for fans across England to start to plan their Rugby World Cup 2025 experience.
Four of the venues are already home to English domestic rugby teams including Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate, Northampton Saints and Loughborough Lightning at cinch Stadium at Franklin’s Gardens, both Exeter Chiefs’ men’s and women’s teams at Sandy Park, and Sale Sharks at Salford Community Stadium.
Twickenham Stadium, the historic home of England Rugby, will also play host during the tournament, while the competition also heads to three stadiums that regularly host football with the Premier League’s Brighton and Hove Stadium welcoming teams to the southeast, with Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and York’s Community Stadium also confirmed.
“We are absolutely over the moon to have been selected as one of the host venues for the 2025 Women’s Rugby World Cup,” said Mark Darbon, Northampton Saints Chief Executive.
“We continue to see participation in women’s and girls’ rugby and the audience for the sport grow throughout our region, and have been delighted over the last few years to have contributed to that via our partnership with Loughborough Lightning, as well as through hosting women’s international matches in Northampton.
“So, to bring several World Cup matches to our home ground in 2025 is fantastic, and we hope this will create a lasting legacy of success in Northampton and beyond by inspiring the next generation of female players.”Mark Darbon, Chief Executive
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Club’s operations team for all their hard work to ensure we will play a part in this historic World Cup, and also to thank West Northamptonshire Council for their help throughout the process so far.”
Loughborough Lightning utility back and 108-time Red Rose, Emily Scarratt, added: “Northampton is a traditional rugby hotbed in the UK and we can’t wait to bring the Rugby World Cup there in 2025.
“We want to inspire the next generation of players in the Midlands and having one of the focal points for the region as a host venue will go a long way to doing just that.”
Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council, commented: “It’s a privilege for West Northamptonshire to be chosen as a host venue for the women’s 2025 Rugby World Cup. As a Northampton Saints season ticket holder, I know that there’s nothing quite like watching live rugby from the stands and I am excited to see this prestigious tournament take place at the Gardens.
“Major sporting tournaments like this can bring huge benefits to the area, from attracting visitors and boosting the local economy to encouraging people to get active and showcasing West Northants to a worldwide audience.
“West Northamptonshire’s unique rugby culture is something special, and just one of the things we’re thrilled to share with teams from around the world.”Cllr Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council
“This event will undoubtedly provide a wealth of opportunities and help us build on our growing reputation as a major sporting destination. We're also intent on securing a lasting legacy that builds participation in both Rugby and other sports for future generations, and especially for women and girls whose participation in sport continues to be lower than amongst males.”
RWC 2025 aims to continue to raise the bar for women in rugby, inspiring the next generation of young players and supercharging the growth of women’s sport in England and across the globe.
The Rugby World Cup Impact Programme, delivered by the RFU in partnership with the UK Government and Sport England, will also create more opportunities for females than ever before across all levels of the game through its volunteer, coaching and internship programmes.
Following the two years to go milestone, all eyes will turn to England later this year at the conclusion of the men’s Rugby World Cup 2023, when the ‘Road to England 2025’ is launched ahead of what promises to be a record-breaking event for women’s rugby in 2025.