With six spots officially leftover RWC2023 qualification tournaments scheduled this season, the candidates must all be focused on ‘any and every opportunity’ to reach Paris in September 2023.
World Rugby has described the pathway for qualifying International sides to follow, if they wish to add their nation to the participating 20 men’s sides for the next Rugby World Cup.
Six spots to fill in 2022, as RWC2023 qualification continues
For all competitors, the aim is to become World Champion. Competition always sees the ‘cream rise to the top’ and across the next few months, a good number of International rugby teams line up in contests to determine who can ‘rise above’.
Rugby Europe Championship 2022 to deliver two direct qualifiers by March
Rugby Africa Cup 2022, organized in France in July, to determine Africa 1
Contested Americas 2 and Asia/Pacific play-offs to take place in July
Final Qualification tournament in November to complete RWC 2023 line-up
In the media release from World Rugby, it broke down the different regional championships that will promote the winning side(s). This from Europe to Africa, in the Americas, and over to Asia and the Pacific. Regions where some qualifiers have already booked their spot. And with only six remaining, time is running out.
With a 10-point lead at the halfway stage, Georgia are favourites to claim the Europe 1 spot following a grand slam-winning campaign in 2021 but everything is possible for Romania, Portugal, Spain, and Russia who are aiming for the Europe 2 direct qualification spot.
The team/s that finishes third in the combined Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 will still have another chance to make it to France RWC2023 qualification via the last quali-tournament in November.
Since losing the Oceania 1 play-off to Samoa, Tonga has beaten the Cook Islands and will play the winner of the Asia Rugby Championship in July, to decide who qualifies for RWC 2023 as Asia/Pacific 1 and takes their place in Pool B. The side will want to play well for their home nation, as Tong recovers from devastating Tsunami damage in January of this year.
Plenty of Motivation for all competing nations in 2022
In the Americas, the USA will have a second chance to reach a ninth Rugby World Cup when they play Chile – who ended Canada’s ever-present record last October – in the Americas 2 play-off over two legs, again in July. The USA Eagles may go in as the more experienced RWC side, however, many will have watched the increased performances from South American nations.
World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Rugby World Cup 2023 is getting closer and 2022 will be a pivotal year for teams looking to secure their tickets for rugby’s showcase men’s tournament. “We are delighted to see the global competitiveness of our game improving with emerging nations like Portugal, Chile or Zimbabwe challenging historic Rugby World Cup teams for direct qualification. Credit must be given to our unions and regions who work tirelessly to organize these competitions, sometimes in challenging environments.
“We look forward to following the regional qualifiers and expect a few more surprises along the way.”
Once the July segment is confirmed, the remaining unqualified nations will be finalized ahead of the November tournament. A ‘last chance saloon’ grouping of men’s teams from all four corners. That sixth place will then seal the lineup and affirm the draw for France RWC2023.
From there, it is a countdown until Friday, September 8 when France host New Zealand in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup.
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