Pacific Nations Cup

Fiji needs to finish in top 2 to qualify for 2019 RWC

With 12 teams having secured their place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross‑regional qualifiers which will begin this year. In addition to the two automatically qualified teams (Australia and New Zealand), Oceania have been allocated a further two direct […]

Peni Shute

June 10, 2016 8:50 am

With 12 teams having secured their place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross‑regional qualifiers which will begin this year.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians at the ANZ Stadium this morning. (Samu Soqoyawa/Facebook)
The Vodafone Flying Fijians at the ANZ Stadium this morning. (Samu Soqoyawa/Facebook)

In addition to the two automatically qualified teams (Australia and New Zealand), Oceania have been allocated a further two direct berths in the tournament.

A third and fourth team from Oceania could join the tournament through inter‑confederation play‑offs and the repechage.

The revamped Pacific Nations Cup will now only include Fiji, Samoa and Tonga.

The teams will play on a home and away basis in a round robin format across two years in the June international windows.

The top two teams across the 2016 and 2017 tournaments will gain qualification for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Oceania 1 and Oceania 2.

This means that the Vodafone Flying Fijians should try to make the top two in the PNC this year and next year to qualify for the World Cup before the repechage.

The bottom placed team of the 2016–2017 PNC will play a home and away play‑off against the second-ranked team from the 2018 Rugby Europe Championship (excluding Georgia).

The winner on aggregate qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2019 as the Europe/Oceania play‑off qualifier, whereas the loser will head to the world repechage.

In a statement, World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset said the Pacific Nations Cup is always a hard-fought tournament and, with RWC 2019 qualification at stake he expects this edition to be no different.

LAPASSET: “Over the next three years around 4,000 players from more than 80 nations across all six World Rugby regions participate in about 200 matches in a qualification process that involves well-established and popular regional tournaments. I am sure that there will be surprises along the way and it will be a fascinating journey.”

“Rugby World Cup is a magical tournament that creates history and brings joy to millions. We look forward to welcoming the world to Japan 2019 and what promises to be a very special and ground-breaking event.”

The Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan will feature 20 teams. Twelve teams qualified directly by virtue of finishing in the top three of their respective pools at RWC 2015 in England are champions New Zealand, hosts Japan, Argentina, Australia, England, France, Georgia, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, South Africa and Wales.

All qualified teams will be known by November 2018.

Fiji will meet Tonga at 3pm Saturday in the PNC opener and the first qualifier clash at the ANZ Stadium.

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