Daily Digest: Rugby World Cup delayed until 2022

New Zealand vs England

In today’s news: Rugby Union World Cup to be postponed until 2022, Australia beat New Zealand in Constellation Cup second test and Nicola Sturgeon gives the green light for SWPL teams to return to training.

Rugby World Cup postponed to 2022

The 2021 Rugby Union World Cup is to be pushed back until next year after World Rugby made the decision amid Covid-19 concerns. New Zealand was set to host the event which was due to commence in September. The decision to postpone is awaiting ratification by the Rugby World Cup Board. 

New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that the country’s borders will remain closed for most of 2021 until it is “vaccinated and protected”.

The hosting nation are also the holding champions of the previous World Cup and will be hoping to retain their title in the rescheduled competition.

Rebekah Stott diagnosed with blood cancer

The Brighton and New Zealand defender has publicly announced that she has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

In an emotional and raw Twitter video, the 27-year-old delivers an account of her diagnosis in hope to raise awareness around the illness and provide support for others.

Stott revealed that she will be undergoing four weeks of chemotherapy to help treat the lymphoma. She commented on her status as an elite-level athlete and her determination to get herself even fitter before the treatment starts. Stott believes that that gives her “the best possible chance to come out of it even stronger”.

The Football Ferns ace is raising funds to help fight blood cancer by partaking in the ‘World’s Greatest Shave’ movement. You can support Stott and others affected by blood cancer by visiting their website.

Australia beat New Zealand in Constellation Cup test

The Diamonds have come back to snatch a win over New Zealand in their second Constellation Cup test. Their 45-36 victory comes after the Silver Ferns won the opener of the competition, giving both sides a win each ahead of the third test on Saturday.

Australia took the lead early on, proving they had addressed mistakes made in their narrow 49-44 loss in the opening match. Their dominating performance is head coach Stacey Marinkovich’s first win in charge of the Diamonds, who will be vying for their ninth consecutive Constellation Cup title.

SWPL 1 given go ahead to return to training

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that the Scottish Women’s Premier League can allow its teams to return to training but players must undergo Covid-19 testing prior to each match.

SWPL players join their male counterparts in returning to the training pitches after fixtures were suspended back in January to coincide with Scotland’s lockdown regulations.

There’s a close title challenge underway between Rangers and Glasgow City, who have both won six and lost just one of their seven games played this season. Although they’re level on 18 points each, Rangers lead the table on goal difference. 

Several options regarding the outcome of the season are being reviewed, but all remaining fixtures are set to go ahead.

Matt Beard ready to “fight” to stay in WSL

Bristol City head coach Matt Beard has delivered fighting talk ahead of next week’s match against Reading. The Robins are currently locked in a relegation battle, but their recent run of form suggests that they could have enough to claw their way back up the table and avoid the drop into the Championship.

Speaking to the club’s official site, Beard said: “I’ve used these last two weeks to try and hammer points home, and it’s been the first time from the first ball kicked to the last ball kicked that I have seen consistency in our defensive strategies in our attacking strategies.”

Bristol City Women

Bristol secured their spot in this year’s Continental Cup final with a win over Leicester last month. They will face off against reigning champions Chelsea at Watford’s Vicarage Road on March 14. 

City are currently bottom of the WSL table but are just two points behind Beard’s former club West Ham. If they can continue their recent run of form, they could knock the Irons into the drop zone and cement their survival.

“I know that we will fight for absolutely every single point left that we’ve got to stay in this division.”

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