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Scotland confirm Rugby World Cup Squad.

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Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend today named the 31-man Scotland squad for Rugby World Cup 2019 at a public event at Linlithgow Palace.

100s of supporters turned out to see Edinburgh hooker Stuart McInally announced as captain of a group that features a split of 17 forwards and 14 backs, each of whom was announced one-by-one as part of a live squad reveal.

Townsend said: “Stuart has done a really good job in the opportunities he’s had to captain Scotland.

“He captained Edinburgh last season and is a real lead-by-example player, both in training and in games. He’s a calming influence and is very good at bringing the best out of others.”

“We have a number of leaders in our squad and it was great to see them work well together out in Georgia last week.”

Over a third (13) of the group have previous Rugby World Cup experience, with Edinburgh back-row John Barclay the only player preparing for a third campaign (having featured in 2007 and 2011).

The remainder are Glasgow Warriors quintet Fraser Brown, Jonny Gray, Pete Horne, Tommy Seymour and Ryan Wilson, Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist and Willem Nel, plus Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), Sean Maitland (Saracens), Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs), Finn Russell (Racing 92) and Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls), who all featured in 2015.

Barclay is also the most-capped member of the squad with 74 of the group’s total of 902 appearances combined, with Scarlets back-row Blade Thomson operating at the other end of the spectrum, with one Test cap.

Glasgow Warriors contribute the most players (12) to the squad, with Edinburgh close behind with 10, eight coming from exile clubs and Reid representing the Super6 side, whose tournament begins in November this year.

Edinburgh wing Darcy Graham is the youngest member of the squad having turned 22 in June, although there are three other 22-year-olds in the squad – Glasgow Warriors Scott Cummings and Adam Hastings, and Edinburgh back Blair Kinghorn – while Laidlaw is the oldest at 33 years and 326 days (with Nel also 33). The squad has an average age of 27.

Scotland Head Coach Gregor Townsend said: “We’re delighted with the squad and believe we’ve picked a group capable of playing our best rugby and doing this consistently throughout the tournament.

“The players have worked hard to be in the best physical shape of their careers and we know that when they play to their potential they are capable of beating any team in the world.

“The players have worked hard to be in the best physical shape of their careers and we know that when they play to their potential they are capable of beating any team in the world.”

“There were a number of tough calls given the quality of our wider training squad, and on the close decisions we’ve looked to select players that have strong defensive attributes and are willing to out-work their opposite number.”

He continued: “Some very good players have missed out on selection this time, but they know they’ll have to keep working hard because, in a world cup, an opportunity can come around very quickly.”

Completing the squad’s forward stable are front-rows Simon Berghan (Edinburgh), Allan Dell (London Irish), Zander Fagerson and George Turner (both Glasgow Warriors), and Edinburgh trio Ben Toolis (lock), Jamie Ritchie and Hamish Watson (back-row).

Joining Pete Horne as the squad’s centre options are his Glasgow Warriors clubmate Sam Johnson and exiles Chris Harris (Gloucester) and Duncan Taylor (Saracens), with Glasgow Warriors scrum-halves George Horne and Ali Price completing the back division.

31-man Scotland squad for Rugby World Cup 2019​

FORWARDS (17)

John Barclay (Edinburgh) – 74 caps**
Simon Berghan (Edinburgh) – 21 caps
Fraser Brown (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps*
Scott Cummings (Glasgow Warriors) – 3 caps
Allan Dell (London Irish) – 24 caps
Zander Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors) – 21 caps
Grant Gilchrist (Edinburgh) – 36 caps*
Jonny Gray (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps*
Stuart McInally CAPTAIN (Edinburgh) – 29 caps
Willem Nel (Edinburgh) – 31 caps*
Gordon Reid (Ayrshire Bulls) – 36 caps*
Jamie Ritchie (Edinburgh) – 11 caps
Blade Thomson (Scarlets) – 1 cap
Ben Toolis (Edinburgh) – 20 caps
George Turner (Glasgow Warriors) – 7 caps
Hamish Watson (Edinburgh) – 27 caps
Ryan Wilson (Glasgow Warriors) – 44 caps*

BACKS (14)

Darcy Graham (Edinburgh) – 6 caps
Chris Harris (Gloucester) – 9 caps
Adam Hastings (Glasgow Warriors) – 13 caps
Stuart Hogg (Exeter Chiefs) – 69 caps*
George Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 6 caps
Pete Horne (Glasgow Warriors) – 42 caps*
Sam Johnson (Glasgow Warriors) – 5 caps
Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh) – 14 caps
Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne) – 73 caps*
Sean Maitland (Saracens) – 42 caps*
Ali Price (Glasgow Warriors) – 26 caps
Finn Russell (Racing 92) – 46 caps*
Tommy Seymour (Glasgow Warriors) – 51 caps*
Duncan Taylor (Saracens) – 22 caps

* Denotes Rugby World Cup experience

Townsend speaks below about his squad.

Rugby World Cup

Women’s Rugby World Cup looks set to be postponed.

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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.  

Statement Ends.

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RWC 2023 Pools confirmed.

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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.


Draw seedings

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.

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Qualification process set for Rugby World Cup 2023

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Image from World Rugby
  • 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

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