Kenya Simbas Sammy Oliech tries to tackle a Germany opponent. Photo Courtesy/GermanyRugby

All you need to know ahead of 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in France

Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the sport, Rugby World Cup 2023 will be contested by 20 teams, of which 12 are automatically qualified by virtue of a top-three place in their respective Rugby World Cup 2019 pools: champions 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, the teams will be seeded based on World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020 and placed into three bands of four teams. This represents the fairest scenario given it was the last time that all teams were able to play.The remaining eight teams will come through the regional qualification process and will be allocated into bands four and five based on relative strength. They consist of Americas 1, Americas 2, Europe 1, Europe 2, Africa 1, Oceania 1, Asia / Pacific 1 and the Final Qualifier Winner.

The teams in each band will be randomly drawn to determine the pools they go into, the first drawn being placed in Pool A, the second in Pool B, the third in Pool C and the fourth in Pool D. The first band to be drawn will be five, with the top four seeds the last to be drawn.

Revised RWC 2023 pathway for the Americas

Given the impact of COVID-19, and the likelihood of playing a full Americas Rugby Championship (ARC) across two years in 2021 and 2022, the Rugby World Cup Board, in partnership with Rugby Americas North, Sudamérica Rugby and the respective unions, has approved a revision to the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification pathway in the region.

Qualification for the Americas will now comprise two play-off matches. First, the two 2021 champions from Rugby Americas North and Sudamérica Rugby will play home and away to determine Americas 1, the top spot in the region. The losing side will enter the Americas 2 play-off.

In parallel, the two 2021 runners-up in North and South America will play home and away to qualify for the Americas 2 play-off. The winner, based on aggregate score of both matches, will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023 as Americas 2 and the losing side will enter the Final Qualification Tournament.


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