England Women to face France, New Zealand in September

England will host world champions New Zealand on Sept. 14 ahead of this autumn's WXV 1 tournament, the teams announced on Thursday.

The Red Roses will also face France -- who England beat in Bordeaux last weekend to secure their sixth consecutive Six Nations title -- at Gloucester Rugby's Kingsholm Stadium seven days earlier on Sept. 7.

England won the inaugural WXV 1 title when the teams last met in Auckland in November 2023 as the Red Roses got revenge for their 34-31 World Cup final defeat to the Black Ferns which stands as their solitary loss in the last five years.

"We want to host and play against the best sides in the world ahead of the 2025 Rugby World Cup, so these are two fixtures we are eagerly anticipating," England captain Marlie Packer said in a statement.

"Fans always bring the noise for games at Kingsholm and with many of our squad having connections to Gloucester, it should be another brilliant occasion.

"Our last two games at Twickenham have resulted in the best two crowds ever recorded in women's rugby. We want more.

"Playing the Black Ferns at the home of English Rugby is an unbelievable opportunity that doesn't come around all too often. We can't wait for thousands of our supporters to get behind us on another special day at Twickenham."

John Mitchell's team will defend their title in the WXV 1 tournament, which features the top three teams from the Six Nations and Pacific Four Series, in September and October in Canada.

"Twickenham has been home to some hugely memorable matches involving our national teams and we expect this Test to join that list, with the massive rivalry the two teams share," New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said in a statement.

England set a new world record attendance for a women's rugby match when a crowd of 58,498 watched them complete the Grand Slam with a 38-33 win over France at Twickenham on April 29, 2023.

In this year's championship, 48,778 fans watched England score 14 tries in an 88-10 thrashing of Ireland at Twickenham.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report