How teams in Africa attempted to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023

Regional qualification for Africa is now over following the conclusion of the Rugby Africa Cup 2022.

The tournament was won by Namibia after a 36-0 win over Kenya in the final held in Aix-en-Provence in France on 10 July, 2022 and the Welwitschias will go forward to France 2023 as Africa 1.

The qualification journey first started for African teams some 13 months earlier in June 2021 with the Rugby Africa Cup 2021 Repechage, a round-robin tournament featuring three teams: Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi.

Burkina Faso recorded a comfortable 52-3 victory against Burundi on 5 June and then defeated Cameroon, 17-13, eight days later, also in the capital city of Ouagadougou.

As winners of the tournament, Burkina Faso then entered the 12-team Rugby Africa Cup 2021 competition.

Qualifying in Africa

Teams Involved

Qualified Teams
Qualified for RWC 2023
South Africa
World Ranking 4th
Highest RWC Finish
Winners
1995, 2007, 2019
Qualified for RWC 2023
Namibia
World Ranking 21st
Highest RWC Finish
Pools
1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
Did Not Qualify
Did Not Qualify
Algeria
World Ranking 73rd
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Burkina Faso
World Ranking 91st
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Burundi
World Ranking 101st
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Cameroon
World Ranking 104th
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Cote D'Ivoire
World Ranking 50th
Highest RWC Finish
Pools
1995
Did Not Qualify
Kenya
World Ranking 34th
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Uganda
World Ranking 44th
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Senegal
World Ranking 55th
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Zimbabwe
World Ranking 33rd
Highest RWC Finish
Pools
1987, 1991

For Rugby Africa Cup 2021, the 12 participating teams were split into four pools of three with matches in Pools A and B taking place between 3-11 July, 2021 and matches in Pools C and D scheduled for 9-18 July.

Namibia overcame the shock of a 24-13 defeat to Ivory Coast in their first game to progress through to the next stage of qualifying as winners of Pool A. Ivory Coast had to settle for second place ahead of Madagascar.

In Pool B, Senegal won both of their games to finish on top while Kenya finished ahead of Zambia for the runners-up spot. Senegal and Kenya just about made it through at the expense of Ghana in a very competitive Pool C in which all three teams won a game apiece.

With Tunisia unable to take part, the two teams in Pool D, Zimbabwe and Burkina Faso were assured of reaching the next stage.

So for Madagascar, Zambia, Ghana and Tunisia the dream of appearing at Rugby World Cup 2023 was over.

Formatted as a straight knockout competition, the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 included four quarter-finals, two semi-finals and a final, with matches split between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille in France, from 1 to 10 July, 2022.

In the first quarter-final, Namibia overcame Burkina Faso 71-5 in the first meeting between the teams at test level. Zimbabwe came through the second quarter-final in the top half of the draw, beating Ivory Coast 38-11.

Kenya’s 42-7 win over Uganda ensured they would play the winner of the Senegal v Algeria match in the second semi-final. Despite going into the game well below their opponents in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings powered by Capgemini, Algeria prevailed 35-12.

Namibia then booked their place in the final with a 34-19 win over Zimbabwe, while Kenya edged Algeria 36-33.

In reaching the final, Kenya were 80 minutes away from appearing at a first Rugby World Cup but Namibia proved too strong, winning 36-0.

Namibia will now take their place in Pool A alongside three-time winners New Zealand, hosts France, Italy and the Americas 1 qualifier.

As losers of the Rugby Africa Cup final, Kenya still have another chance to qualify for France 2023 via the Final Qualification Tournament in November 2022.

Read more: How teams in the Americas qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023 >>

RWC 2023 Qualifying