Mastercard is set to work with boosting women's rugby profile over the next five years ©Getty Images

Mastercard has signed a five-year partnership with World Rugby to assist with the development of its "Women in Rugby" programme, as part of the Accelerating the development of women in rugby strategic plan which is to conclude in 2025.

As the founding global partner of the programme, Mastercard will focus on growing youth participation and raising the profile of women's rugby competitions and its calendar.

Mastercard is also set to be the first worldwide partner for the 2021 and 2025 Rugby World Cups, as the preferred card for both tournaments; as well as the first global partner of WXV - the annual women's competition which is due to debut in 2023.

World Rugby has also launched its new Women in Rugby Team Powered marketing campaign, which aims to encourage more women and girls to participate and watch women's rugby.

"Women's rugby is going from strength to strength globally, and the new Team Powered campaign and Mastercard partnership will supercharge the sport’s growth, inspiring a new generation of players, fans and parents," said World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin.

"Team Powered showcases the unique values, diversity and inclusivity of women’s rugby and will encourage more women and girls to get involved in the sport, on and off the pitch. 

"Our new commercial partnership reflects our ambitious plans to advance women in rugby at all levels and, as a long-standing supporter of rugby, Mastercard is a perfect fit. 

"Our vision for the sport is very much aligned with a focus on accelerating accessibility, visibility, commerciality, and competition within women’s rugby – the single-biggest opportunity to grow the sport as a whole globally."

More than 2.7 million women and girls currently play rugby globally - making up a quarter of the playing population around the world.

Previously, Mastercard has been a partner of World Rugby since the men's 2008 Rugby World Cup and the women's 2017 Rugby World Cup; as well as acted as a sponsor for the Women's and Men's 15s Player of the Year Awards.

"Fostering connections and giving people the opportunity to grow their passions is what Mastercard stands for," added Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard chief of marketing and communications.

"We are honoured to support a sport as inclusive as women’s rugby that has seen unprecedented growth in recent years. 

"Together with World Rugby, we look forward to creating programmes and experiences that get people closer to the game they love."

New Zealand is set to host the 2021 Rugby World Cup, which is now due to take place in 2022 October and November because of the coronavirus pandemic.