Rita Ora to headline the Rugby World Cup opening kick-off ceremony at Eden Park
British pop star Rita Ora will headline the opening ceremony kicking off New Zealand’s inaugural Women’s Rugby World Cup at Eden Park on October 8.
Kiwi artists Shapeshifter and Benee will also perform at Eden Park for the semi-finals and the final respectively.
Ora will open the World Cup when the Black Ferns begin their campaign, as defending champions, against Australia in Auckland, as organizers hope to set the world crowd record for a women’s rugby match.
This match is part of the opening day triple header, with South Africa taking on France before Fiji take on England.
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Ora will take to the stage after the game between Fiji and England and then again at half-time of the Black Ferns game with the Wallaroos.
An internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter, who holds the record for top 10 singles for a British artist and has over 40 million social media followers, she is believed to be married to New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi.
“I look forward to playing in Aotearoa and joining these incredible female athletes at such a historic moment for women’s rugby,” Ora said in a statement.
“I am honored to be part of the Rugby World Cup 2021 family and to share the stage with incredible talent as we shine a light on women’s sport.
“New Zealand holds a special place in my heart and I look forward to connecting with the fans, players and everyone involved during my time at the tournament.”
Shapeshifter will perform for the semi-finals on November 5 at their first show at Eden Park.
Benee will headline the final on November 12.
World Cup Tournament Director Michelle Hooper said they were delighted to have each performer.
“Rugby World Cup 2021 will be a world-class festival of rugby and music, celebrating wāhine toa on and off the pitch and providing unforgettable moments for competing teams and fans alike,” Hooper said in a statement.
“Those in the stands will have incredible value, seeing the best women’s rugby in the world, as well as the best entertainment between games on a scale never seen before at a Women’s Rugby World Cup.”
This is the first time the Women’s World Cup will be held in the southern hemisphere. The Black Ferns have won five of its seven editions since 1991.
Matches will also be played at Waitākere Stadium in Auckland and Northland Events Center in Whangārei.
The World Cup was scheduled for 2021 but was delayed by 12 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
After facing the Wallaroos, the Black Ferns face Wales at Waitākere Stadium on October 16 and play Scotland to complete the pool game in Whangārei on October 22.
The team coached by Wayne Smith will play their quarter-final in Whangārei on October 29, as long as they qualify for the knockout stages.
There are 12 teams in three pools of four and eight that qualify for the quarter-finals.
The Black Ferns’ final pre-World Cup warm-up game is against Japan at Eden Park on September 24.