It’s almost here, all 20 teams are now in Japan and itching to show off their prowess on the field and be crowned the Rugby World Cup Champions 2019. The competition kicks off on Sept 20th with 5 teams divided into 4 Pools, A, B, C, D.
What are the bookmakers saying?
Cup holders, New Zealand, are in Pool B and are pitted against South Africa, Italy, Canada and Namibia. Will the All Blacks make it three in a row? Is it a good thing that they are pitted against the Springboks? And many would love to know if they are worth betting on. Hell yeah, and that’s why you may want to check out this list of betting sites before you place that potentially lucky wager. Right now, the odds favour the All Blacks at 11/1, England at 5/1, South Africa at 9/2 and Wales at 12/1.
Did you know that England could potentially land a big payout if they manage to lift the Web Ellis Cup? That’s a cool £225,000 extra per player if they manage to take home the title which they last won in 2003.
So we know the favourites, but who’s in pole position to cause an upset in Japan. Read on to find out more info per Pool.
All eyes on Pool B
For starters, All Blacks and Springboks are in the same pool and play each other in their opening game. Is that a good thing? Both are peaking in terms of form and will not meet each other again unless they both the reach final. However, it is important to remember that New Zealand have now suffered an injury setback with loose forward Luke Jacobson out of the reckoning after having suffered an injury due to a delayed onset of concussion, rumours are also circulating that SBW may also be carrying a knock. So, are the All Blacks a bit of a worry and worth a wager? Even though the odds say it all with New Zealand still the bookmaker’s favourite, they’ve drawn against the Springboks recently and had close calls against England and Argentina. Then there was that pretty huge loss 26-47 against Australia which they followed up with a sweet victory in the Bledisloe Cup with a 36-0 win. Do they still have it in them to top the pool? Most certainly!
Pool A – The toughest group to call
Ireland and Scotland have their work cut out as they face host nation Japan, Samoa and Russia. Scotland have had their ups and downs losing to and beating France all within a week. Rewind back to the Six Nations and we saw the Scots come back from 0-31 against England to draw the game at 38 all.
The Irish are previous Grand Slam winners and have also overcome New Zealand twice in recent years but have struggled for consistent form in 2019. Wales gave them a sound thrashing in the Six Nations and England added more salt to their wounds in a warm-up match. Their opening match v Scotland will most likely determine who finishes in top spot in Pool A.
Hosts Japan are likely to have all the possible backing from the crowd. They’ll be targeting their game v Scotland in Tokyo as a must-win game to try and make the knock-out stages!
Pool C – The pool of death
England, find themselves pitted against France and Argentina. Wrapping up the pool are Tonga and the USA. The question is whether the ‘Red Rose’ will bloom or wilt away. The 2018 Six Nations was a disastrous period for England, finishing 5th in the Six Nations. Since then they have had ups and downs but seem to be peaking just at the right time following a huge win over Ireland in Twickenham just a few weeks ago and big-name players hitting peak form. They are certainly favourites to top Pool C.
France, on the other hand have a dismal record away from home. They’ve only managed to record 2 away victories against Italy in the last 2 years out of 15 away games. Selecting from the Top 14, they have a wide pool of players to choose from and that widened pool often leads to a lack of cohesion and understanding at International Level. French fans will settle for nothing less than reaching the knock-out stages but the French are notorious for raising their performances when it comes to the World Cup.
Argentina, another team who often raises their game at World Cup time will have their work cut out to make the knockout stages. Domestically, they had a fantastic season with the Jaguares reaching the Super Rugby Final for the first team but that form was not translated in the recent Rugby Championship fixtures. This group will certainly be competitive.
Pool D – A more predictable group
Australia and Wales are set to fight it out for first and second in this pool. The Welsh are without fly-half Gareth Anscombe and back up Fly-Half, Rhys Patchell is also a doubt. The Wallabies, on the other hand, haven’t had much to write home about in the last 18 months. Of the 18 games played they’ve dunked 12, so Wales will be gunning for them hoping for another victory after taken their scalp last Autumn. Uruguay, Fiji and Georgia make up the rest of this pool and will have to bring out their best to force an upset. Fiji have an explosive and exciting backline that will no doubt cause any defence problems and the famous Georgian scrum could also cause any pack a few problems!
Let the games begin!
Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.
World Rugby has made the difficult decision to recommend the postponement of Rugby World Cup 2021, scheduled to be hosted in New Zealand between 18 September-16 October, until next year. The recommendation will be considered by the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee on 8 and 9 March respectively.Play Video
While appreciating the recommendation is extremely disappointing for teams and fans, it has their interests at heart, and gives the tournament the best opportunity to be all it can be for them, all New Zealanders and the global rugby family.
The recommendation is based on the evolution of the uncertain and challenging global COVID-19 landscape. It has become clear in recent discussions with key partners including New Zealand Rugby, the New Zealand Government and participating unions, that, given the scale of the event and the COVID-19-related uncertainties, it is just not possible to deliver the environment for all teams to be the best that they can be on the sport’s greatest stage.
The challenges include uncertainty and the ability for teams to prepare adequately for a Rugby World Cup tournament both before and on arrival in New Zealand, and challenging global travel restrictions.
World Rugby can assure teams, New Zealanders and the global rugby family that the recommendation to postpone the tournament will help to ensure that Rugby World Cup 2021 will be all it can be next year for players, fans and the rugby family – one of the great Rugby World Cups.
Further updates will be issued following the Rugby World Cup Board and World Rugby Executive Committee meetings next week.
RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.
How the draw worked
As host nation, France was drawn first and placed randomly in one of the four pools. The teams were then drawn randomly from each band, starting with Band 5 (Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1, Final Qualifier Winner), then Band 4 (Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2), then Band 3 (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy), then Band 2 (Ireland, (France), Australia, Japan) and finally Band 1 (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). The first drawn in each band was placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D.
Twelve of the 20 teams qualified automatically by finishing in the top three places of their Rugby World Cup 2019 pool. These 12 teams are: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales, Ireland, France, Australia, Japan, Scotland, Argentina, Fiji and Italy. Acknowledging the global COVID-19 impact on international rugby in 2020, these teams were seeded based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into the first three bands of four teams.
The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and were allocated for the draw into bands four and five based on relative strength. They are: Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.
Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023
- Process designed to promote regional strength and the best teams to rugby’s showcase event
- 12 teams already qualified owing to top three pool placing at RWC 2019
- RWC 2023 on track to be a spectacular celebration of rugby and France
World Rugby has announced details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Following the most competitive and widely-acclaimed Rugby World Cup to date in Japan, the qualification process is designed to deliver the top teams in the world to rugby’s showcase tournament, while promoting a genuine opportunity for all unions.
With 12 teams having secured their place at France 2023 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2019, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of 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 events in 2021 will be announced in due course and will be subject to an anticipated easing of the COVID-19 situation.
The announcement follows consultation with unions and regions in January 2020 and a full review of performance at Rugby World Cup 2019, where rankings upsets and the impressive performances in particular of Japan, Fiji, Uruguay, Tonga and Georgia cut the performance gap, with the average winning margin between established and emerging unions decreasing in comparison with 2015 benchmarks.
The Americas will deliver two direct places, while Oceania will deliver a direct qualifier with a further direct place available following a play-off with Asia. The Rugby Europe Championship (two direct places), Rugby Africa Cup (one direct place) and Final Qualification Tournament (one direct place) will provide the other qualifiers. Further details are provided below.
RWC 2023 qualification principles
- 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 & 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 & 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: South Africa, England, New Zealand, Wales, Japan, France (host), Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Fiji
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.
“On behalf of World Rugby, I’d like to wish all teams involved the best of luck on their journey to France 2023.”
Rugby World Cup France 2023 CEO Claude Atcher added: “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.”
Final details of the regional competition formats and dates will be announced in due course.
Official Press Release from World Rugby