Rugby: New Zealand to face Australia on opening day of women's World Cup

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(Reuters) - Defending champions and hosts New Zealand will face neighbours Australia at Auckland's Eden Park on the opening day of the women's Rugby World Cup next year, the sport's global governing body said.

The tournament, to be held in Auckland and Whangarei from Oct. 8-Nov. 12 in 2022, was originally scheduled for this year but had to be postponed due to uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

South Africa will play France in the first of three games on the tournament's opening day, before two-time winners England face debutants Fiji and New Zealand take on Australia.

The 44,000-capacity Eden Park will also host the semi-finals, bronze playoff and the final.

New Zealand's 'Black Ferns', who defeated England 41-32 in the final in Belfast in 2017, have won five of the eight previous editions of the tournament.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)