With one round of the Rugby World Cup 2023 pool phase left to play, only two teams - Wales and England - are already guaranteed qualification for the quarter-finals. Six places in the last eight are still to play for and below we outline how results in each of the pools could still affect the outcome.
These permutations also highlight teams who can secure automatic qualification for Rugby World Cup 2027 by finishing no lower than third in their pool.
Namibia cannot qualify for the quarter-finals as they are on zero points with no games left to play. Namibia can also not automatically qualify for Rugby World Cup 2027. France have gained automatic qualification for RWC 2027 as it is impossible for them not to finish outside the top three.
Both quarter-final spots and the other two 2027 qualification places are to be decided:
- France will top Pool A if they avoid defeat against Italy.
- Two losing bonus points would also be enough for France to top Pool A providing Italy do not get a try-bonus point in victory (15 points to 14). France will finish ahead of New Zealand on the head-to-head rule if both end up on 15 points.
- A bonus-point win for New Zealand will secure qualification for the quarter-finals. Even if France, Italy and New Zealand all finish on 15 points, the All Blacks have the better points difference (+133 to France’s +125 and Italy -14). Italy would then qualify in second ahead of France on the head-to-head rule.
- Uruguay must beat New Zealand with a try-bonus point, and by at least 80 points, and will need France to defeat Italy in order to qualify for the quarter-finals.
- Uruguay must beat New Zealand with a try-bonus point, prevent the All Blacks from taking any bonus point and hope Italy get something out of their game with France to finish third on the head-to-head rule with New Zealand to secure qualification for RWC 2027.
- A point will confirm Italy’s qualification for RWC 2027.
Tonga and Romania cannot qualify for the quarter-finals as they are both on zero points with one game left to play against each other. They are also both incapable of finishing in the top three spots of their pool, automatic qualification for 2027 will go to Scotland, Ireland and South Africa regardless of any further results.
Both quarter-final places are still to be decided:
- Scotland must beat Ireland and deny the Irish a bonus point to finish second on the head-to-head rule with South Africa topping the pool.
- If Ireland get a bonus point and Scotland do not, Ireland will top the pool on the head-to-head rule from South Africa.
- A Scotland bonus-point win without Ireland getting anything from the game will see them qualify in second place behind South Africa. The Springboks would finish top on the head-to-head rule.
- If Scotland win and both teams get a bonus point, then they join South Africa on 15 points and points difference will determine top spot in Pool B.
- Scotland must win by 21 points or more to claim top spot ahead of South Africa (South Africa +117, Ireland +122 and Scotland +97). Ireland would then qualify as runners-up on the head-to-head rule, having beaten South Africa. If Scotland do not win by such a margin, then South Africa will finish top on points difference and Scotland second on the head-to-head rule.
- Ireland will guarantee top spot if they secure two points from their match against Scotland.
Qualified for quarter-finals: Wales
Georgia and Portugal cannot qualify for the quarter-finals and cannot gain automatic qualification for Rugby World Cup 2027 as they are on three and two points respectively with one game to play. This mean Wales, Australia and Fiji have qualified for RWC 2027.
Wales have already reached the quarter-finals and the other place will be secured by either Australia or Fiji:
- Wales need one point against Georgia to guarantee top spot in Pool C.
- Fiji need one point against Portugal to confirm second place on the head-to-head rule having already beaten Australia.
- If Fiji get nothing from the match, Australia will qualify for the quarter-finals as runners-up.
Qualified for quarter-finals: England
Chile cannot gain automatic qualification for Rugby World Cup 2027 or a quarter-final spot as they have zero points with no games left to play. The only team to have secured a quarter-final spot and automatic qualification for 2027 is England. This means the other quarter-final place and the two remaining automatic qualification spots will be decided between Argentina, Japan and Samoa:
- England are already confirmed as Pool D winners (having beaten both Argentina and Japan).
- Winner of Japan v Argentina will qualify for quarter-finals as runner-up.
- A draw could be enough to secure second place for Japan or Argentina, depending on whether one or both secure a try-bonus point and Samoa’s result against England.
- If both get try-scoring bonus points in a draw, Argentina will finish second on points difference (+46 to +18).
- If the match ends in a draw, Japan must be the only team to get a try-scoring bonus point to finish second.
- If neither get a bonus point in the draw, Samoa must beat England by 29 points and get a try-bonus point to have the best points difference of the three teams to finish second (+47). Argentina would then finish third on points difference from Japan to qualify for RWC 2027.