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Women’s Rugby World Cup opens with Eden Park sell-out

Featured image credit: : Will Evans on Unsplash

Tickets to this weekend’s opening matchday of Rugby World Cup 2021 have sold out with a record-breaking crowd set to fill New Zealand’s national stadium at Eden Park.

The 50,000-capacity venue is set to host the most attended women’s Rugby World Cup matchday ever, surpassing RWC 2014 finals day which was recorded as a sell-out at the 20,000-capacity Stade Jean-Bouin in France.

Saturday’s triple-header will be the first time in history that Eden Park has reached capacity for a women’s sports event and the attendance more than doubles the largest-ever crowd for a standalone women’s sports event in New Zealand.

Matchday one at Eden Park features games between France and South Africa, Fiji and England, and Australia and New Zealand, with pop star Rita Ora also set to perform.

Michelle Hooper, Rugby World Cup 2021 tournament director, said: “On Saturday night, Aotearoa will send a strong message to the world that women’s rugby is due its rightful place in the spotlight with a sell-out crowd at Eden Park.

“Creating history for women’s sport and setting new records for women’s rugby, will undoubtedly elevate the women’s game to new heights for generations to come. We’d like to express our gratitude to fans and to the global rugby whānau for sharing our belief.”

Rugby World Cup 2021 is taking place in New Zealand from October 8 to November 12 and is the first time the event has been staged in the southern hemisphere. Some 12 teams are participating at three venues – Eden Park, Waitākere Stadium and Northland Events Centre.

World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin said: “With kick-off fast approaching we are seeing excitement levels rise exponentially as fans across New Zealand and around the world engage with the tournament and get behind the teams who will no doubt be inspired to even greater performance levels on the pitch.”

The women’s rugby tournament was postponed in March 2021 due to ongoing fears surrounding COVID-19. Revised dates were announced in May last year with the tournament now taking place October 8 until November 12.