RWC 2023 - June 2020 Updates

June 10 2020

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World Rugby Announce Qualification Process for RWC 2023 in France: Americas Qualifying Process Still Up in the Air

World Rugby announced it's qualification for the men's World Cup in 2023 in France. Their media release is appended below.

From a Canadian perspective, the teams Canada traditionally have to get by to qualify as America 1 or 2 are USA and Uruguay. During the previous World Cup cycle Canada lost to both teams and had to head to the repechage which they won to qualify.

This RWC cycle the Americas Rugby Championship tournament was supposed to determine the top 2 America seeds. There's been a hiccup in that process and apparently it's due to some acrimony from South America over Canada's voting in the World Rugby chairman process. Canada voted for Beaumont, the European candidate, instead of Pichot the South American candidate. Now South America want a separate spot guaranteed.

If that happens then Uruguay, Chile and Brazil would likely battle for the South American spot and Canada and USA would battle for the North American spot. The winners would play to determine Americas 1 and 2 while the 2nd place teams would battle it out to determine who goes to the repechage. If the teams were the same strength as last RWC cycle then the scenario would see Uruguay v USA for Americas 1 and 2 and Canada v Brazil to determine who goes to the repechage.

The down side of that scenario would be Canada wouldn't have a chance to knock off Uruguay to claim one of the Americas spots.

The repechage tournament will have one Americas rep, last cycle it was Canada. There will be one from Europe, the 3rd place finisher from Belgium, Georgia, Romania, Spain and Russia). Last year it was Germany as Spain and Romania were disqualified for using ineligible players. Georgia and Russia progressed to the RWC. Africa will have one spot, last time it was Kenya. Asia/Pacific will provide the fourth team at the repechage, last time it was Hong Kong.

Teams already qualified are South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji.

from World Rugby

World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.

Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby's showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.

With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier.

The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.

The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.

The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.

RWC 2023 qualification principles

- 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 & 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 & 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

Teams already qualified: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: "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.

"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."

Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: "This qualification process gives emerging unions an opportunity to take part in our sport’s biggest competition.

"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."

Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.

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