All you need to know about the tournament in Dubai involving Colombia, Kazakhstan and Scotland
Rugby World Cup 2021 Final Qualifying Explained
There are just two women’s teams still in the running for the final place at this year’s Rugby World Cup – Colombia and Scotland.
The Colombians booked their place in the Final Qualification Tournament (FQT) decider against Scotland on Friday in Dubai by beating Kazakhstan 18-10.
Kazakhstan started the match 11 places higher in the World Rugby Rankings but it was Colombia who were the more clinical despite having to play 65 minutes with only 14 players.
Colombia No 8 Maribel Mestra was sent off in the 15th minute for making contact with the head of Kazakhstan fly-half Balzhan Koishibayeva with her shoulder.
Despite being at a numerical disadvantage for so much of the match, Colombia played the more creative rugby, had the better kicking game and were superior in their fitness (not surprising given that Kazakhstan haven’t played a Test since 2019).
Colombia’s tries came from Juliana Soto and Maria Isabel Arzuaga, who also kicked eight points.
The FQT was set to involve four teams playing semi-finals but Covid-related withdrawals resulted in a change to the format, with the one semi-final determining who would face Scotland, who are the highest-ranked team involved and were surprise runners-up at the European qualification tournament last September.
Hong Kong and Kazakhstan were due to play each other in mid-February to determine who would go to the FQT as the Asia representative. But Hong Kong pulled out because of lockdown restrictions, so Kazakhstan went straight through to Dubai.
Their opponents in the semi-final were Colombia after Samoa withdrew from the FQT because of Covid travel rules. Colombia, who have never played in a World Cup, qualified for this tournament by beating Kenya in a play-off last year.
The winners of Colombia v Scotland on 25 February will book their place in Pool A with New Zealand, Australia and Wales, with Scotland favourites in the Rugby World Cup qualifier.
Rugby World Cup 2021 Final Qualifying: The teams
World Ranking Ninth
Coach Bryan Easson
World Cup History Played in five successive tournaments (1994 to 2010), finishing from fifth to eighth
World Ranking 15th
Coach Anna Yakovleva
World Cup History Played in every one from 1994 to 2014, finishing between ninth and 12th
World Ranking 26th
Coach Lissete Martinez
World Cup History Never qualified and played first match overseas in their last qualifier against Kenya
Rugby World Cup 2021 Final Qualifying: The fixtures
Saturday 19 February, Colombia 18-10 Kazakhstan
Friday 25 February, Scotland v Colombia (7pm Dubai time/3pm UK & Ireland time)
Rugby World Cup 2021 Final Qualifying: How to watch
The good news is that the two matches from this tournament will be able to watch for free.
World Rugby will stream the games live on its digital and social channels, including the World Rugby YouTube channel.
BBC ALBA will also broadcast the Scotland match on 25 February live and that coverage will be available on the BBC iPlayer.
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