It may seem like a long way off but with the covid-19 pandemic still sweeping around the World, how can you predict who may win the 2023 Rugby World Cup?
After one of the most competitive Rugby World Cup’s to date in Japan, the qualification for 2023 is planned to be even better and to promote opportunities for all rugby union nations.
After South Africa’s stunning win over England in the Final, if you were looking at the odds with CaptainGambling you would have South Africa, England, Australia and New Zealand up there as favourites to make it to the Finals, depending on their Group pathways.
12 teams already have their place in France 2023, having finished in the top three of their respective pools in Japan at Rugby World Cup 2019, the remaining eight places will be secured by regional and cross-regional qualifiers. The process will conclude with a four-team round-robin Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022 to determine the final qualifier. The dates for the Tournaments in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.
Rugby World Cup 2023 Qualification Process
Americas: the Americas will qualify two teams by September 2022. The third best team in the region will enter the Final Qualification Tournament – Americas 1 and Americas 2
Europe: the existing Rugby Europe Championship will have two qualifying places, with the two best teams in March 2022 qualifying directly and the third placed entering the Final Qualification Tournament – Europe 1 and Europe 2
Africa: the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 winner will qualify directly and the runner-up team will go to Final Qualification – Africa 1
Oceania: a home and away play-off between Tonga and Samoa in 2021 will determine the direct qualifier for the Oceania region. – Oceania 1
The loser will then play the Oceania Rugby Cup 2021 winner in the highest ranked team’s country with the eventual winner contesting Asia / Pacific (see below) as Oceania 2
Asia / Pacific: the winner of the Asian Rugby Men’s Championship 2021 will play Oceania 2 home and away. The winner on aggregate will determine the qualifier and the loser will go to Final Qualification – Asia / Pacific 1
Final Qualification Tournament: the tournament in November 2022 will feature four teams playing in a round-robin format with the winner qualifying for RWC 2023 – Final Qualification winner
Teams already qualified after RWC19 : South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji
Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman commented: “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 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.
“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”
Claude Atcher Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO commented: “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.”
At this stage, let’s just hope the pandemic eases and the world is clear of the virus in the next 12-24 months.