Presumably there are people with decision-making powers and influence who take note of wildly discriminatory policies such as not allowing female players to warm-up for a test match in the same way as their male counterparts.

Hopefully it was noted by World Rugby that Rugby Australia, who are in a head-to-head contest with New Zealand to win the hosting rights for the 2021 Women's Rugby World Cup, blocked the Black Ferns and Wallaroos from warming up on the main field at ANZ Stadium in Sydney ahead of their test on Saturday.

It would surely have to be advantage New Zealand, if not game, set and match on the World Cup hosting front. The Australians must have killed any chance of being successful with their bid after making a decision that was so patently destined to become a PR disaster.


It will be hard, nearly impossible now, for RA to convince anyone that they have the best interests of the women's game at heart. How can they be trusted to host a World Cup when they couldn't appropriately host a single test match?

And their justification of the decision to tell the Black Ferns and Wallaroos to warm up on a netball court near the stadium shouldn't be entertained. That can be booted to touch and RA should be wary of how bad it sounds when they give the explanation.

Which is, that the ground staff in charge of the notoriously volatile and fragile field at ANZ Stadium said the surface could cope with hosting back-to-back tests and the male sides warming up, but not the additional half hour of the women's warm-up.

So the women were kicked off the field to preserve it for the men, and with that moment of madness, Australia basically told World Rugby to award the World Cup hosting rights to New Zealand.

There's no way back for the Aussies on that one. Or at least there shouldn't be, and New Zealand Rugby, not always the most astute at reading the public mood or sensing wider expectations, has put its own house in good order for this weekend.

Eden Park, like ANZ Stadium, will host a double-header on Saturday but without the discrimination. The Black Ferns and Wallaroos will be able to warm up on Eden Park's main field.

Both will also have the same access as the All Blacks and Wallabies to Eden Park on Friday before the test to hold their respective captain's run.

The Black Ferns have opted not to take up their slot, but the point is they were given a slot to reject. NZR has also pushed on to the front foot in its efforts to persuade fans to head to Eden Park in time for the Ferns' kickoff at 5pm.


The Australian fixture was kept pretty much top secret and the stadium was close to deserted when the women's game kicked off. By the end, RA said there were around 28,000 in the stadium and claimed that as a world record attendance.

But did RA persuade any fans to come earlier to the stadium than they normally would have and support the women's fixture?

New Zealand and Australia only lodged their respective World Cup hosting bids 10 days ago but already Australia's looks doomed.