Auckland and Whangarei have been chosen as the two playing venues in New Zealand Rugby's bid to host the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup.

The national body confirmed it has lodged a formal bid with World Rugby to host the next edition of the Women's World Cup and that it has significant Government backing.

That political support will be crucial, as New Zealand will be going head-to-head with Australia to host the event which is now, following a hugely successful tournament last year in Northern Ireland, one of the bigger rugby tournaments on the global calendar.

There had been discussion earlier in the year about New Zealand and Australia jointly hosting the event but both unions decided they would rather make individual bids despite the fact that would put them in direct competition with one another.

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Under the plan, games would be played at North Harbour Stadium, Waitakere Trusts Stadium and Northland Events Centre in Whangarei. Eden Park would also be available for some games.

If New Zealand is successful, it will be the first time the Women's World Cup has been played in the Southern Hemisphere

"We would be thrilled for the event to be held here," said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. "New Zealand is the home of women's rugby. The Black Ferns captured our imaginations again when they won their fifth World Cup title last year and our entire country would get behind the tournament and all the teams participating."

Ardern said New Zealand had a successful track record hosting and organising many large events in the past decade, including the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the 2015 Fifa Under-20 World Cup, the 2015 Cricket World Cup and the 2017 World Masters Games, with the 2021 America's Cup on the horizon.

"It's exciting to see the regional element to our bid. I know Northland will embrace games being held in their part of the country and their local support will be a key ingredient in its success.

"This Government is committed to more women and girls getting involved in sport, so we are enthusiastic supporters of bringing this elite women's tournament to New Zealand and inspiring a new generation of women and girls to get involved in rugby."

Former Black Ferns captain and current New Zealand Rugby board member Farah Palmer will be heavily involved with the bid and believes if New Zealand is successful, it could be a huge boost for the game.

"The opportunity to host the event in New Zealand for the first time would be a privilege and a beacon to continue to grow the women's game in New Zealand and globally.

"The 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup provides New Zealand with an opportunity to continue to grow the Black Ferns legacy, inspire women globally, encourage girls and women around the world to pick up a rugby ball and provides opportunities to develop women's rugby in the Asia-Pacific region.

"NZR is highly experienced in the operational planning and delivery of world class events with sustainable commercial returns."

NZR said it is considering trying to also host a Pacific Island women's rugby tournament alongside the main event in 2021.