World Rugby confirms qualification process for 2023 World Cup in France

Ireland are among the 12 nations who have already qualified but there are eight spots remaining.

WORLD RUGBY HAS confirmed the qualification process for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, outlining how the remaining eight places will be earned.

Ireland are one of the 12 nations who have already qualified thanks to finishing in the top three of their respective pools at the 2019 World Cup.

The other teams already qualified for 2023 are South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, Australia, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji, and the hosts, France.


The eight remaining spots will be decided by regional and cross-regional qualifiers.

The qualifying process will finish with a four-team round-robin ‘Final Qualification Tournament’ in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

Here’s where the eight remaining teams will come from:

  • Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022 [those teams will be Americas 1 & Americas 2]. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament.

USA, Canada, and Uruguay will be among those battling it out for these spots. 

  • Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly [Europe 1 & Europe 2] and the third-placed team entering the Final Qualification Tournament.

Georgia, Romania, Russia, Spain, and Portugal will be in contention in this region.

  • Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly [Africa 1] and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification.

Namibia will be looking to hold off the likes of Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tunisia, and Uganda here.

  • 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.

Tonga and Samoa will both be expected to qualify for the World Cup. Other Oceania nations are minnows such as Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Tahiti.

  • 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 [Asia/Pacific 1] and the loser will go to Final Qualification.

Hong Kong will be fancied to emerge as Asian champions and face one of Tonga or Samoa. Other Asian nations such as South Korea and Malaysia will look to cause an upset.

  • 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].

World Rugby says final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course, subject to an anticipated easing of the Covid-19 situation.

“With the global pandemic having halted most rugby activity, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

“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.

“Maximising existing regional competitions, the process is good for regions and unions in managing costs for organisers and participants alike, which is important as we all recover from the global pandemic.

“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”

Originally published at 11.40

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