There could potentially be four Spanish-speaking nations at the showcase in France

Should referees speak Spanish at Rugby World Cup 2023?

At the weekend we saw Spain qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023. They go into Pool B with Ireland, Scotland, South Africa and Asia/Pacific One at the showcase.

Which means that they are the third Spanish speaking nation to be slotted for the major event. Uruguay are in Pool A, and Argentina are in Pool D.

But Chile could also qualify for the Rugby World Cup. They face the USA in a two-legged Americas Two play-off in July. Win it and they go into Pool D (alongside Argentina). Lose, and they go into the final qualification repechage tournament, joining three other sides, from Africa, Asia/Pacific and Europe. Those teams to compete for the very last spot in the World Cup (in Pool C).

So if Chile are successful, we could get an all-Spanish speaking match-up with Argentina. Or come through the repechage, and every pool at the competition in France will have a Spanish-speaking side. Which begs the question: Should top Test match officials be encouraged to possess a basic array of Spanish phrases for that tournament?

Although the universal language of rugby’s laws is officially English, not all players speak it and Rugby World understands that World Rugby would consider offering support with any match official interested in learning more basics in Spanish in the build-up to RWC 2023.

Anglophone referees’ ability to talk to French speaking sides in Tests and continental club competitions is often discussed by the rugby public at large. And while we see more of it happening on our screens today, it is understood to be an individual’s choice at elite level, how much they learn and converse in other languages.

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