World Rugby have announced that there will be some changes to the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2019.
With 12 nations already confirmed for the tournament via pre-qualification rules, the governing body for rugby has revealed where the 8 qualifying countries will come from.
The 12 pre-qualified countries from Rugby World Cup 2015 include the 8 quarter finalists and the 4 teams who finished third in their respective pools. These include; New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, France, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Georgia, England, Japan and Italy.
The new structure is believed to favour the continents with stronger rugby traditions. Fiji, Samoa and Tonga who all failed to qualify directly for the next World Cup.
South American sides such as Uruguay, have received no benefits from the new restructuring. Similar to the process of qualification in 2015, Uruguay will need to win the South American regional qualifiers and subsequently beat the North American runner-up. Whoever loses this playoff will have one final opportunity to qualify in the new updated take on the Final Place Play-off – The Repechage Tournament.
The round-robin style tournament will decide who the 20th and final team to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 will be. The tournament will include four nations from four separte continents. Namely; Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.
Although Japan were due to receive automatic qualification as the host nation, Asia have not been handed another automatic spot as a result of Japan’s historic performance at the Rugby World Cup which saw them finishing third in their group. If a second Asian team is to qualify for Japan 2019, they will have to win the Repechage.
Check out a detailed table outlining the qualification process courtesy of Americas Rugby News below.