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Thursday, November 12, 2015

2019 RWC Qualification Format Confirmed

Earlier today World Rugby confirmed the qualification process for the 2019 World Cup. For North and South American fans it's much of the same with only a change in the repechage impacting the regions. To qualify for Japan the U.S. and Canada will once again face off in a home and away match with the loser playing a home and away with the top ranked South American team outside of Argentina. That is almost certain to be Uruguay once again. If the pattern for qualification holds the U.S. will play Canada for a spot in the World Cup in 2017.

The major concern for some if the old format held true was that one of Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga would miss out in 2019 because none failed to automatically qualify. Additionally, with Japan and Georgia automatically qualifying there could potentially be new teams. Now, it looks like all three Pacific Islands are safe with Asia and Europe losing out on one spot.

Take the jump to read more.
Two teams from Oceania will qualify through the Pacific Tri-Nations played from June 2016 to June 2017. The third team will go into a playoff with the second ranked team (3rd place) in the Rugby Europe Championship outside Georgia. The top team in Asia outside Japan will now face the winner of the Oceania Cup (all the teams outside the Pacific Tri-Nations).

In Europe, the highest ranked team from the Rugby Europe Championship outside Georgia qualifies. One team from Africa will also qualify. The repechage will see the Europe/Oceans playoff winner, the American third place team, a second team from Africa, and the Asia/Oceania winner. All in all, it's set up for the Pacific Islands team to all qualify once again with the repechage almost certainly set to be the same teams as before. 

1 comment:

  1. Not surprised to see the number of qualifying spots available to each region changed significantly. IRB/WR has always kept the number of TOTAL spots available to each region pretty consistent, shuffling the qualifying process to do so.

    This time around, Europe is a bit better off than previously, presumably as a nod to Georgia's success. (It will also be good to see a middling ENC team like Russia, Spain, or Portugal get a test or two against a solid Tier 2 Oceania team.) On the one hand, it's appropriate that this gain comes partially at the expense of Oceania. On the other, it's a shame that it also comes at the expense of Asia. After Japan's great success at the World Cup, the reward for the region is requiring a play-in game just to get into the Repechage semifinals. I guess the one upside is the chance to see a match between the likes of Hong Kong and the Cook Islands, something that otherwise wouldn't be happening.