The process for qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup has been revealed. World Rugby announced the decision on Monday saying that qualification process will promote a genuine opportunity for all unions.
Teams that have already qualified due to finishing in the top three in their pools at last year’s World Cup competition include, Ireland, South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France, Australia, Scotland, Italy, Argentina and Fiji. Seven spots from the remaining eight will likely be finalised by regional and cross-regional qualifiers. A four team round robin tournament will determine the final team that will qualify for the tournament which will be held in France.
Bill Beaumont chairman of World Rugby said in a statement on Monday, “The process that has been developed via full consultation with our regional associations and member unions will provide a genuine opportunity for full member unions to qualify for our showcase men’s 15s event”.
Mr Beaumont also revealed details regarding the South Americas qualification, Asian Qualification and Oceania qualification. Two teams from the South Americas will deliver two direct qualifiers, the third best team will enter the final qualification. Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams qualifying in march 2022. The third place team will enter final qualification tournament. The Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will get automatic qualification for the World Cup, while the runner up will go into the final qualification tournament.
A home and away play-off between Samoa and Tonga in 2021 will determine which team for the Oceania region will qualify for the World Cup. The loser of this game would go in as Oceania 2 and would play the winner of the Asia/Pacific on a home and away basis.This game will based on aggregate score. The winner will qualify for the World Cup and loser side will play in the final qualification tournament.
The Final qualification tournament will take place in 2022 and will feature 4 teams who play in a round robin format. The winner will qualify for France 2023. Chairman of Rugby World Cup France 2023, Claude Atcher said, “This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition”. He continued, “The success of Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan and performances by the host nation is a testimony of rugby’s expansion globally. As the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic is about to be won, I welcome this optimistic prospect of reconnecting with the excitement of our sport. This is the start of our journey towards France 2023, which will be the best tournament ever delivered”.
Full qualification process:
- Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 and Americas 2
- Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 and Europe 2
- Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
- Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
- Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
- Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner