Photo credit: May James Photography
In what they describe as an 'ultimate statement of equality', World Rugby has made the landmark decision to scrap gender references in both its 15s and Sevens World Cups - making it the first major sporting organisation in the world to do so.
Kicking off their rebranding process with the upcoming 2021 Women's World Cup in New Zealand, the showpiece tournament will now simply be known as the 2021 Rugby World Cup.
According to the governing body, this will help to 'elevate the profile of the women's game, while eliminating any inherent or perceived bias towards men’s only competitions and tournaments, which traditionally haven’t specified gender.'
Aside from being a nod to the growth of women's rugby, it follows up from their recent "Try and Stop Us" campaign, which seeks to foster participation among girls and women of all ages and from a commercial standpoint, draw investors to become a part of an increasingly lucrative market.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “This announcement demonstrates our ongoing and unwavering commitment to advancing women in rugby both on and off the field in line with our ambitious strategic plan," said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
“Unintentional gender bias in sport is an ongoing issue. As a global sporting federation we need to be leading from the front on the issue of equality. By adopting gender balance in the naming of men’s and women’s Rugby World Cup competitions, we are setting new standards in equality in rugby.”
World Rugby Women’s Advisory Committee Chair Serge Simon was in agreement.
“This is much more than an initiative – it is the ultimate statement of equality and a first for sport. I am excited about this landmark decision, but this is the beginning of the journey."
"Together, we are working hard to do something very special for women, for the game.”