How teams in Asia and Oceania Qualified for Rugby World Cup 2023

We look at how teams qualified and who still can in the Final Qualification Tournament

The road to Rugby World Cup 2023 in Asia and Oceania began in July 2021 when Samoa beat Tonga 79-28 over two legs.

With victory Samoa claimed their place as Oceania 1 in Pool D alongside England, Japan and Argentina. They have since been joined by Americas 2 qualifier Chile.

In doing so they became the fifth team from the regions to qualify for the showpiece tournament, joining Australia, Fiji, Japan and New Zealand who were assured of their place in France due to their performances at RWC 2019.

Seven days after their defeat to Samoa was confirmed, Tonga were back on the pitch, at Navigation Homes Stadium in Pukekohe, to face the Cook Islands in the Asia/Pacific Qualifier.

Captain Sonatane Takulua and Sione Tu’ipulotu each scored two of Tonga’s eight tries as the ‘Ikale Tahi secured their place in the Asia/Pacific play-off with a 54-10 win.

Due to the pandemic, Tonga would have to wait almost 12 months to find out who stood between them and a ninth men’s Rugby World Cup appearance.

On 9 July 2022, a late Gregor McNeish penalty ensured that Hong Kong beat Korea 23-21 in Incheon to claim the Asia Rugby Championship 2022 title and set-up a one-off winner-takes-all play-off against the ‘Ikale Tahi for a place at RWC 2023.

Two weeks later the teams met at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Queensland, where Takulua helped himself to a hat-trick of tries in Tonga’s 44-22 win. Victory means the ‘Ikale Tahi will line up in Pool B in France, alongside South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Romania.

Hong Kong, meanwhile, will contest the Final Qualification Tournament in Dubai in November, against Portugal, Kenya and the USA. Whoever wins that will book the final ticket to RWC 2023.

Qualifying in Asia and Oceania

Teams Involved

Qualified Teams
Qualified for RWC 2023
Australia
World Ranking 9th
Highest RWC Finish
Winners
1991, 1999
Qualified for RWC 2023
New Zealand
World Ranking 4th
Highest RWC Finish
Winners
1987, 2011, 2015
Qualified for RWC 2023
Japan
World Ranking 10th
Highest RWC Finish
Quarter-Finals
2019
Qualified for RWC 2023
Fiji
World Ranking 12th
Highest RWC Finish
Quarter-Finals
1987, 2007
Qualified for RWC 2023
Samoa
World Ranking 11th
Highest RWC Finish
Quarter-Finals
1991, 1995
Qualified for RWC 2023
Tonga
World Ranking 16th
Highest RWC Finish
Pools
1987, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019
Qualified for RWC 2023
Qualification Winner
Can Still Qualify
Can Still Qualify
Hong Kong
World Ranking 22nd
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Did Not Qualify
Cook Islands
World Ranking 53rd
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Korea
World Ranking 31st
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Papua New Guinea
World Ranking 84th
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Niue Island
World Ranking 98th
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Solomon Islands
World Ranking 103rd
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified
Did Not Qualify
Malaysia
World Ranking 51st
Highest RWC Finish
Never qualified

RWC 2023 Qualifying