We are just 312 days from the opening game of Rugby World Cup France 2023 where the top 20 teams in the world will complete for the Webb Ellis Trophy. The road to lifting the most coveted prize in rugby is a long one; three group games followed by the knock out phase and the World Cup Final itself. 12 teams qualify for the tournament automatically, with usual suspects England, Australia, Wales et al joining hosts France in the draw. The remaining eight teams started their World Cup journeys long before the first blast on the referees whistle in September 2023.
The final eight qualification spots are fought for during nine regional qualifying tournaments across the globe. Teams such as Georgia and Romania qualified through their final positions in the Rugby Europe Championship, whilst Namibia qualified after winning the Rugby Africa Cup in 2022. We know for certain 19 of the 20 teams who have booked their places at Rugby World Cup France 2023. There is however one final glimmer of hope for four nations.
Hong Kong, who lost the Asia/Pacific play-off final; USA, who lost the Americas 2 play-off; Kenya, who were runners-up in the Rugby Africa Cup; and Portugal, who finished third in the Rugby Europe Championship all have one final shot at Rugby World Cup France 2023 qualification as they contest the Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai in November. The tournament will run between the 6th and 18th of November with the sides playing in a round-robin format. The team that picks up the most competition points will book their spot in Pool C at RWC France 2023.
The USA will go into the tournament as favourites, currently ranked 19th in the world and having never failed to qualify for a Rugby World Cup Tournament. Portugal last qualified for the pinnacle of world rugby in 2007, and the European side, currently ranked 20th in the world, are sure to push USA all the way. The two outsiders are Hong Kong and Kenya, neither of whom have ever qualified for the tournament.
Will it be a walk in the park for the Eagles? Could Portugal go to their second World Cup? Or will one of the underdogs defy the odds and steal the final spot? Infinity Sports Travel will be following the action closely, keep an eye on our social media for results!
Want to head to France to catch all the in 2023 in a unique way, you can get tickets here.