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The first-ever women’s International Defence Rugby Competition begins

On 4 October, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) celebrated the opening of the first women’s International Defence Rugby Competition.

07 October, 2022

The ceremony was a formal welcome for teams from Australia, Fiji, France, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, and Vanuatu to Aotearoa New Zealand, and to the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, officially opened the ceremony and a number of Defence Force senior leaders and NZ Rugby representatives were in attendance.

“The NZDF is proud to be hosting our inaugural event, bringing together Defence women from our military partners across the Pacific and around the world to engage through sport – bonding and battling for a winning outcome,” said Air Marshal Kevin Short. 

NZDF were honoured to have NZ Rugby Board Director, Dame Patsy Reddy, and former Black Fern and Pacific Gender Equality ambassador, Louisa Wall speak at the event, encouraging our Defence women to pursue their sporting passions and wishing them luck in the competition.

More NZ Rugby leaders in attendance were the Chair of Rugby World Cup NZ, Dame Julie Christie, and Head of Women’s NZ Rugby, Claire Beard. 

This competition is an opportunity to bring together some of our military partners to battle and bond over a national sport and combine their sporting passions with their professional ones.

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The opening ceremony of the International Defence Rugby Competition

The first round of games kicked off on Friday, 7 October and can be watched at For highlights of the first games and other activities, visit NZ Defence Force Sport Facebook page 

We encourage New Zealand to get behind our Defence women to celebrate wāhine toa (strong women) as they battle and bond with some of our international military partners. 

All games are open to the public and will be played in Auckland at the College Rifles Rugby Club, Remuera. Most games will also be live streamed online.

For the game schedule, links to watch online, and more information about NZDF’s inaugural women’s International Defence Rugby Competition, visit