WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand has won the right to host the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, bringing the tournament to the southern hemisphere for the first time.
World Rugby voted 25-17 in Dublin on Wednesday to award the hosting rights to New Zealand over a rival bid from Australia.
The decision means that the New Zealand women's team, five-time world champions, will have the chance to play a World Cup match at home for the first time.
The 12-team tournament will take place over six weeks with matches played in Auckland and in the northern city of Whangarei. The final will be played at Auckland's Eden Park, which hosted the men's World Cup finals in 1987 and 2011.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said New Zealand's bid captured the imagination of member nations.
"You listen to the presentation and it's the passion for the sport," Beaumont said. "Everybody knows what rugby means to Kiwis. It's in their DNA. That came out in the bid. If I was a Kiwi I would think it's coming home."
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew said New Zealand would stage a world class event but expressed sympathy for Australia's failed bid.
"It's not very often we compete with Australia and think it's unfair to win but today was a day that could've gone either way," Tew said. "They had a very strong bid."
Australia's bid was supported by the Home Unions — England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales — but New Zealand won the support of most southern hemisphere nations.
"It's very disappointing, we really put our best foot forward and the support we've had from NSW and the federal government was truly outstanding," Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said. "We put a compelling case together and the presentation went well but unfortunately we didn't get the votes on the day."