(Reuters) – Facts about the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand from October 8 to November 12:

* The ninth Women’s World Cup, the first in the southern hemisphere, was due to take place in 2021 but was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* The tournament opens with a triple header at Auckland’s 50,000-capacity Eden Park on Saturday. Matches will also be played at Waitakere Stadium (3,000) in suburban Auckland and the Northland Events Center (30,000) in Whangarei about 160km to the north.

* Hosts New Zealand are also the defending champions, beating England 41-32 in the final of the last World Cup in Dublin five years ago to win their fifth title (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2017).

* The United States (1991) and England (1994, 2014) are the other teams to have won the title.

* England are top of the world rankings entering the tournament thanks to a 25-match winning streak that has included three Six Nations triumphs.

* The 12 teams have been divided into three pools for the opening round, with the top two from each advancing along with the best two third-placed teams.

Group A: New Zealand, Australia, Wales, Scotland

Group B: Canada, USA, Italy, Japan

Group C: England, France, South Africa, Fiji

* Teams will receive four points for a win and two points for a draw. Bonus points will be awarded for four or more tries in a game and/or for a loss by less than eight points.

* For the first time in the tournament, there will be quarterfinals, the schedule of which will be determined by the seeding of eight teams based on the results of the group stage. The pool winners will be the 1st through 3rd seeds, the 4th through 6th seeded teams, the 7th and 8th seeded teams, and the 3rd seeded teams.

Quarterfinals: 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, 4 vs. 5

Semi-finals: The winner of the 1 vs. 8 match meets the winner of the 4 vs. 5 match

Winner of 2 vs. 7 takes on winner of 3 vs. 6

* In the event of a tie in the group standings or seeding, the higher ranked team will be determined by the following criteria:

1. Matches between tied teams

2. The difference in points

3. Tastes the difference

4. Scored points

5. Most attempts scored

6. The highest ranking in world rugby

(Writing by Nick Mulvaney Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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