Rugby World Cup qualification

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Rugby World Cup qualification is a process that determines which nations will compete at a Rugby World Cup.

Unlike previous tournaments (where eight teams, the quarter-finalists from the preceding World Cup, qualified automatically and twelve places were available through qualification) the 2011 World Cup will be contested by twelve automatic qualifiers / seeds (the teams who finished in the top three of the groups at the 2007 World Cup) and eight qualifiers.[1][2]

The qualification system for the remaining eight places will be region-based with Europe and the Americas allocated two qualifying places, Africa, Asia and Oceania one place each, with the last place determined by a play-off.[3]

Development[edit]

Rugby World Cup teams.PNG

The first rugby world cup, the tournament of 1987 held no qualifying tournament. Instead, all the then members of the International Rugby Board (then, IFRB) were automatically included in the competition. These members accounted for seven of the 16 available positions. The remaining positions were filled by invitation.

The next tournament, the 1991 Rugby World Cup implemented a qualifying process. Eight of the 16 available positions were filled by nations automatically, however, the remaining positions would be determined by a 25 nation qualifying tournament. The following tournament, the 1995 Rugby World Cup, increased the qualifying tournament to 43 nations. In addition to the eight previous quarterfinalists, hosts South Africa were granted automatic entry.

The approach changed again for the 1999 Rugby World Cup, as only the hosts and the defending champions, the runners-up, the third place play-off winners from the 1995 cup were to gain automatic entry, as opposed to the elite eight nations. The 1999 world cup also saw the introduction of a repechage, a second chance for teams that had finished runners-up in each qualifying zone. Again, the number of nations participating in the qualifying events increased, from 43 to 63.

81 teams entered qualifying for the 2003 Rugby World Cup. The eight quarter-finalists from the previous world cup gained automatic qualification with another twelve spots open to qualifiers. Teams from five continents, Africa, Asia, Oceania, Europe and the Americas gained entry to the competition. Qualification came through a mixture of round robin tournaments, knockout and repechage.

A similar mixture of round robin tournaments, knockout and repechage was used for the qualification for the 2007 Rugby World Cup involving 86 teams, which together with the 8 teams which have qualified automatically brought to 94 the total number of teams participating in the 2007 tournament.

In addition to the eight quarterfinalists at the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the four teams finishing in third place in their respective pools qualified automatically for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Various existing regional tournaments were incorporated into the qualification process for the remaining eight spots. Including teams that failed to qualify for official qualifying tournaments, 88 teams participated in the qualification process, bringing the total number of teams participating in the 2011 tournament to 100.

History[edit]

Qualification competition entrants over time[edit]

Number of teams entering qualification (including automatic qualifiers)
Continental zone 1987
Australia New Zealand
1991
United Kingdom Republic of Ireland France
1995
South Africa
1999
Wales
2003
Australia
2007
France
2011
New Zealand
2015
England
2019
Japan
Total spots in the World Cup 16 16 16 20 20 20 20 20 20
Africa 1 4 12 11 13 15 15 15
Americas 3 3 7 12 18 19 19 19
Asia 1 7 8 8 11 13 11 17
Oceania 4 5 8 11 11 9 9
Europe 7 19 24 32 36 39 37 38
Total entrants 161
33 56 71 89 97 91 102
  • 1 There was no qualifying process to the 1987 World Cup; all teams were invited.

Qualification spots by continent[edit]

Spots allocated by continent (not including automatic qualifiers)
Continental zone 1987
Australia New Zealand
1991
United Kingdom Republic of Ireland France
1995
South Africa
1999
Wales
2003
Australia
2007
France
2011
New Zealand
2015
England
2019
Japan
Total spots in the World Cup 16 16 16 20 20 20 20 20 20
Africa 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Americas 0 3 1 3+R3 2+R 3 2 2
Asia 0 2 1 1 1 1 1 1
Oceania 0 1 3+R 2+R 2+R 1 1
Europe 0 2 3 6 4 3+R 2+R 2
Total spots not including automatic qualifiers 02
8 7 16 12 12 8 8
  • 2 There was no qualifying process to the 1987 World Cup; all teams were invited, and, therefore, automatically qualified.
  • 3 A +R indicates that one of the teams of this continent qualified to the World Cup through the repechage.

First appearance in qualification by team[edit]

World Cup Africa Americas Asia Europe Oceania Total
1991
United Kingdom
Republic of Ireland
France
 Ivory Coast
 Morocco
 Tunisia
 Zimbabwe
 Argentina
 Canada
 United States
 Japan
 South Korea
 Belgium
 Denmark
 Israel
 Italy
 Netherlands
 Poland
 Portugal
 Romania
 Spain
 Sweden
  Switzerland
 Czechoslovakia
 West Germany
 Yugoslavia
 Samoa
 Tonga
25
1995
South Africa
 Kenya
 Namibia
 Bermuda
 Chile
 Paraguay
 Uruguay
 Arabian Gulf4
 Hong Kong
 Malaysia
 Singapore
 Sri Lanka
 Taiwan
 Thailand
 Andorra
 Czech Republic5
 Georgia
 Germany6
 Hungary
 Latvia
 Lithuania
 Luxembourg
 Russia
 Wales
 Fiji 24
1999
Wales
 Botswana
 Zambia
 Bahamas
 Barbados
 Brazil
 Guyana7
 Trinidad and Tobago
 Chinese Taipei8  Austria
 Bulgaria
 Croatia
 England
 Ireland
 Moldova
 Norway
 Scotland
 Ukraine
 Yugoslavia9
 Australia
 Cook Islands
 Papua New Guinea
 Tahiti
22
2003
Australia
 Cameroon
 Madagascar
 Swaziland
 Uganda
 Cayman Islands
 Colombia
 Jamaica
 Peru
 Saint Lucia
 Venezuela
 Kazakhstan  Bosnia and Herzegovina
 Malta
 Monaco
 Slovenia
 Niue
 Solomon Islands
 Vanuatu
18
2007
France
 Nigeria
 Senegal
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines  Guam  Finland
 Serbia10
none 6
2011
New Zealand
none  Mexico  India
 Pakistan
 Armenia
 Greece
none 5
2015
England
 Mauritius none  China
 Indonesia
 Iran
 Philippines
 United Arab Emirates11
 Cyprus12 none 7
Total 15 20 19 43 10 107

 France,  New Zealand and  South Africa never needed to take part in the qualifying tournaments, always qualifying automatically.

  • 4 Took part in the African qualifying tournament.
  • 5 First appearance as Czech Republic; previous appearance as Czechoslovakia.
  • 6 First appearance as Germany; previous appearance as West Germany.
  • 7 Withdrew prior to the competition. Actually took part in the 2003 qualifying tournament.
  • 8 First appearance as Chinese Taipei; previous appearance as Taiwan.
  • 9 First appearance as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia; previous appearances as Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • 10 First appearance as Serbia; previous appearances as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
  • 11 First appearance as United Arab Emirates. Previously competed as part of Arabian Gulf

12 Although Cyprus were originally included in the qualifying process, they were later removed as they were not full member of the IRB.


Format[edit]

Automatic qualification[edit]

Unlike recent tournaments (where all eight quarter-finalists from the previous tournament automatically qualified for the subsequent world cup) automatic qualification for the 2011 World Cup was awarded to the twelve teams which finished in the top three of each of the 2007 World Cup groups (pools).[4]

Qualification for 2011[edit]

Seven of the eight qualifying spots were given out as follows: two spots each for Europe and Americas and one each for Asia, Africa and Oceania. The final spot was determined by the winner of a playoff, that included the third place teams from the American and European qualifying tournaments and the second place teams from the African and Asian qualifying tournaments.

2007 qualifying tournaments[edit]

Qualifying places[edit]

The places for the 2007 World Cup were outlined as:

  • Africa 1
  • Americas 1
  • Americas 2
  • Americas 3
  • Asia 1
  • Europe 1
  • Europe 2
  • Europe 3
  • Oceania 1
  • Oceania 2
  • Repechage 1
  • Repechage 2

Africa[edit]

There is one place available for African teams, and one place in the repechage. In the group rounds, there are three points awarded for a win, two for a draw, and one for a loss. Games are played on a home and away basis. There are no bonus points awarded. The African qualification is broken up into three rounds; Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3. The first phase of the tournament is Round 1a, where two groups of three teams play each other. The respective winners of the two groups play each other for a place in Round 1b. Round 1b consists again of two groups of three teams; the winner of both pools will enter Round 2. The runners-up of both pools play each other to enter Round 2 with the winners. Round 2 also consists of two groups of three teams, with the winners of each group qualifying for Round 3. Round 3 is a to game series between the respective group winners from Round 2. The winner qualifies for the World Cup, and the loser will enter a Repechage round.

Americas[edit]

There are three available places in the World Cup for Americas nations via qualification, as well as a potential fourth qualifier in the form of a Repechage. The Americas qualification tournament is broken up into four rounds; Round 1, Round 2, Round 3 and Round 4. The first phase, Round 1a, is a competition for entry to Round 3b. It is contested between two pools of four Caribbean nations – with the pool winners playing in a playoff to reach round 3b. Round 1b is a group of four CONSUR 2nd Division nations – the winner progresses to Round 2. Round 2 is a three nation competition with the winner moving to Round 3a. The winner of the Round 3a competition of three nations progresses directly to the World Cup as Americas 1. The runner-up progresses to Round 4. The winner of the Round 3b competition of three nations progresses directly to the World Cup as Americas 2. The runner-up progresses to Round 4. Round 4 is a to match play-off consisting of the runners-up of each Round 3 tournaments. The winner progresses directly to the World Cup as Americas 3. The runner up progresses to Repechage round as Americas 4, to meet the winner of Africa 2 v Europe 4, for the first Repechage place in the World Cup.

Asia[edit]

The Asia qualification process is broken up into three rounds – Round 1, Round 2 and Round 3. There is one place for an Asia team in the World Cup, with a second potential place in the form of a Repechage. Three teams in Division 1 of Round 1a play each other once. All three teams go through to Round 2, the winner and runner up into Division 1 of Round 2 with third place into Division 2 of Round 2. Division 2 of Round 1a sees another three teams play each other once, the top two teams go through to Round 2, the winner entering Division 1 of Round 2and the runner up Division 2 of Round 2. Round 2 is broken up into two divisions of three nations, each nation plays each other once. The top two teams from Division 1 and top team from Division 2 go through to round 3. The winner of Round 3 will qualify directly to the World Cup as Asia 1. The runner-up will advance to the Repechage round as Asia 2, to play Oceania 3 for Repechage 2.

Europe[edit]

There are three places available for European teams, and one place in the repechage. The teams are 'ranked' according to their division in the European Nations Cup, taking into account the relegations and promotions at the end of the previous competition. The format is broken up into six rounds. Round 2 sees 20 nations broken up into four pools of five teams – each playing each other twice. The top two ranked nations of each pool will gain entry to Round 3, with the third placed nations of each pool entering a play-off, the top two ranked sides from the playoff enter round 3. Round 3 consists of 10 nations playing each other twice in two pools of five nations. Winners of each pool enter a play-off, with the play-off winner entering Round 4. The European Nations Cup, consisting of six nations will all gain a place in either Round 4 or 5. The top three nations enter Round 5, with the bottom three entering Round 4. Winners of Round 4 enter Round 5. Round 5 is broken up into two pools of three nations, the first placed nation of a pool qualifies for the World Cup (Europe 1 and Europe 2) while second placed sides of the Round 5 pools enter Round 6. Round 6 is a two game tournament which Europe 3 (World Cup entry) and Europe 4 (repechage).

Oceania[edit]

There are two available positions in the World Cup of Oceanic nations, with a potential third in the form of a Repechage. the tournament is split up into four rounds. Round 1a sees three nations from the Oceania East region play each other once, the winner of the group will qualify for Round 2. Round 1b sees three nations from the Oceania West region play each other once, the winner of the group will also qualify for Round 2. Round 3 is a two match playoff between the winners of Round 1a and 1b. The winner moves to Round 4. Round 3 is a three nation tournament, teams play each other twice. The top two ranked nations will enter the World Cup as Oceania 1 and Oceania 2. The third ranked nation moves to Round 4. The winner of the two game Round 4 tournament advances to Repechage 2 where they meet Asia 1 for a World Cup place.

Repechage[edit]

One[edit]

The first repechage is decided through two sets of two matches. The first set of matches is played between the Africa entry and the Europe entry. The winner of that round meets the Americas entry. The winner of those games gains entry to the World Cup as Repechage 1.

Two[edit]

The second repechage place is contested between the Oceania entry and the Asia entry, who play each other on a home and away basis. The winner qualifies as Repechage 2.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Rankings to determine RWC pools". BBC News. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  2. ^ "Official RWC 2011 Site – Twenty teams to compete at Rugby World 2011". Rugbyworldcup.com. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  3. ^ "Official RWC 2011 Site – Caribbean kick off for RWC 2011 qualifying". Rugbyworldcup.com. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 
  4. ^ "BBC SPORT | Rugby Union | Rankings to determine RWC pools". BBC News. 22 February 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2011. 

External links[edit]