November 9 - A record four countries are set to bid to follow England in 2010 and host the 2014 Women's Rugby World Cup, it has been announced today.
Kazakhstan, New Zealand, Samoa and the United States all submitted their interest to host the premier 15-a-side tournament for the first time by the deadline on October 30, the International Rugby Board (IRB) have confirmed.
The unprecedented number of interested Unions reflects the growth in participation and profile of women's, further boosted by the hugely successful inaugural women's Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai this year and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision last month to include sevens in the Olympics, starting in Rio in 2016, the IRB claimed.
The qualification process for Women's Rugby World Cup 2010 in England concluded last week with Kazakhstan beating Japan 43-5 in Singapore to secure the last remaining place as the Asia qualifier.
They will join defending champions New Zealand, 2006 runners-up and hosts England, bronze medallists France, Canada, South Africa, US, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden and Australia in the 12-team tournament.
With all the teams now confirmed, the pools will be announced shortly for the tournament which runs from August 20 to September 5 2010.
The qualification process saw 16 teams take part, doubling the eight teams which attempted to reach event in Edmonton, Canada, via this route.
Bernard Lapasset, the chairman of Rugby World Cup Limited (RWCL) and the President of the IRB, said: "Women's Rugby World Cup has been a major success for the women's game since its inaugural tournament in 1991.
"The phenomenal rise in participation, skill, competitive international fixtures and global profile of the sport, together with the introduction of Women's Rugby World Cup Sevens and Olympic Games inclusion all mean that the women's game has never been in better health."
RWCL will now analyse the tenders prior to the IRB Council selecting the host union for Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 at its meeting in May.
Susan Carty, the IRB Women's Development Manager, said: ""We are looking forward to the biggest Women's Rugby World Cup to date in England in 2010 and have been working closely with the RFU (Rugby Football Union) to deliver a wonderful tournament, reaching new fans and further raising the profile of the women's game.
"The host of the Women's Rugby World Cup 2014 can build on this and we can bring the tournament to one of the four countries, all of which have a strong tradition in women's rugby."
The previous hosts of Women's Rugby World Cup were Wales in 1991, Scotland in 1994, the Netherlands in 1998, Spain in 2002 and Canada in 2006.
August 2009: Race to host 2014 Rugby World Cup for women starts
September 2008: England awarded women's Rugby World Cup