APIA, SAMOA – 10 JUNE 2020: Samoa and Tonga are to face off next year to qualify directly for the Rugby World Cup (RWC) 2023 in France after World Rugby announced details of the qualification process on 8 June.
Twelve teams have already secured their place at the RWC 2023 including South Africa, England, Wales, Japan, France (host), Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, and from the Oceania region New Zealand, Australia, and Fiji.
The winner of the Tonga vs Samoa game will qualify for RWC directly (Oceania 1) while the loser will go on to play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country.
The winner (Oceania 2) from this game will then play against the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021.
The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier while the loser will go to the Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022, joining three other teams in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for the RWC 2023.
The dates for events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an expected easing of the COVID-19 situation.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said with the global pandemic having halted most rugby activities, confirmation of the global qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 provides a beacon of excitement for all, including players and fans.
“The process 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.”
The RWC 2023 qualification process follows:
- 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 2home 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 RWC2023 – (Final Qualification Winner)