How teams can book their place at the global showpiece in France
Rugby World Cup 2023 Qualification Process
The qualification process for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France has been confirmed.
Twelve teams – South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina and Fiji – have already qualified for the tournament having finished in the top three of their pools at RWC 2019.
The remaining eight places will be determined by a series of qualifying tournaments in 2021 and 2022, including a four-team, round-robin event to decide the final qualifier.
The Americas and Europe both have two guaranteed qualifiers. The top two teams in the Rugby Europe Championship in March 2022 will go through to RWC 2023 as Europe 1 and Europe 2 while the format of the Americas tournament has yet to be confirmed.
The winner of the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup will also be a direct qualifier (Africa 1), as will the winner of a home-and-away play-off between Samoa and Tonga in 2021 (Oceania 1).
The loser of that play-off will go on to play the winner of next year’s Asia Rugby Championship home and away to determine the Asia/Pacific 1 qualifier.
The Final Qualification Tournament will then take place in November 2022 featuring the loser of the Asia/Pacific 1 play-off, the runner-up in the Rugby Africa Cup, the third-placed team in the Rugby Europe Championship and the third best Americas team.
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.”
Tournament organisers will be hoping for a World Cup even more competitive than the 2019 edition, which saw Japan reach the quarter-finals for the first time and Uruguay stun Fiji.
RWC 2023 chief executive Claude Atcher said: “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.”
The pool draw for the next World Cup is due to take place later this year, although with the coronavirus causing uncertainty over whether any more international fixtures will be played in 2020 that may be delayed.
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