It looks like the three Pacific Island teams are all going to finish outside the automatic qualification slots in the pools. Let’s have a look at the qualification process from the last two Rugby World Cups.
The reason that I’m looking at the last two world cups in particular is that they have had the same qualification criteria. Also if we look at the press release from World Rugby on the 19th of September it looks like they are planning on using the same method.
How Qualification worked for 2011 and 2015
- The 12 teams that finish in the top three in their pools at the previous Rugby World Cup qualify.
- 7 teams qualify from regional competitions split:
- Africa 1
- Americas 2
- Asia 1
- Europe 2
- Oceania 1
- 1 team from the Repechage which consists of teams from:
- Africa 1
- Americas 1
- Asia 1
- Europe 1
As you can see from this there is only 1 place for Oceania teams that have not qualified from the previous Rugby World Cup.
In 2011 Tonga and Fiji had qualified from the previous Rugby World Cup and Samoa came through the regional qualification tournament.
In 2015 Samoa and Tonga had qualified from the previous Rugby World Cup and Fiji came through the regional qualification tournament.
With Georgia and Japan qualifying from this Rugby World Cup along with pressure to keep the Asia qualifying tournament place. It is looking increasingly tight to fit in all the Pacific Islands.
Who would qualify for 2019 under these rules?
There are still games to play but it’s looking like:
- Qualified from the Rugby World Cup
- South Africa
- New Zealand
- Teams likely to qualify from regional tournaments
- Africa – Namibia
- Americas – USA and Canada
- Asia – Hong Kong
- Europe – Romania and Russia
- Oceania – Fiji
- Repechage would probably be Uruguay but couldn’t be a Pacific Island
On the plus side it’s good that Georgia have the certainty and can prepare for the next Rugby World Cup. On the down side how would it feel to watch a Rugby World Cup without Samoa and Tonga for example?
This is something that World Rugby need to be proactive about and deal with now in a transparent way for the best of the tournament in 4 years time.
This is all conjecture. Nowhere in the press release from World Rugby does it state that they are planning to use the same qualification format (i.e. the same number of slots allocated for regional qualifiers).
If you read the final quote from the press release”
‘Further details of the regional process will be confirmed following the completion of Rugby World Cup 2015 when it will be known how many teams per region have automatically qualified courtesy of their pool placing’
Hence, the numbers will be decided based on results. Seeing as Georgia (Europe 1) and Japan (Asia) have bumped out automatically qualified teams, one less slot would be allocated to Europe & Asia.
There is pressure to keep the Asia place I know that. To remove all chance for say Hong Kong to qualify would be unfair.
The rest is conjecture and as I said at the bottom its best to deal with it early and transparently.