How teams in Europe will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023
Rugby World Cup 2023 will feature at least eight European teams as each of the Six Nations qualified for the tournament through their performance at Japan 2019.
The remaining two guaranteed spots were subsequently awarded to the teams that finished first and second in the combined Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 standings.
Georgia went into the 2021 Championship as three-time defending champions and made a strong start, beating Portugal, Spain, Russia and Romania on successive weekends in March.
The Lelos then beat the Netherlands at the end of June to wrap up a fourth straight Championship clean sweep and put them within touching distance of RWC 2023 qualification.
At the halfway stage only two points separated second-placed Romania and fourth-placed Spain, setting the 2022 Championship up perfectly.
Having survived a scare at home against Portugal to draw 25-25 and beaten the Netherlands again, Georgia’s qualification was confirmed as a result of the Rugby World Cup Board’s decision to abandon all remaining matches involving Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine.
On 12 March 2022, the Lelos beat Romania to ensure they would play in France as Europe 1, taking their place in Pool C alongside Wales, Australia, Fiji and the Final Qualification Tournament winner.
Spain had kickstarted their campaign with back-to-back wins against the Netherlands, and subsequent defeats of Russia, Romania and a winner-takes-all encounter with Portugal helped them finish second in the combined 2021 and 2022 Championship standings.
Romania, who secured a crucial 37-27 defeat of Portugal on 12 February, recovered from defeat to Spain to claim third place with a final-round win in the Netherlands.
However, it is the Oaks who will head to RWC 2023 as Europe 2, after Spain were found to have fielded an ineligible player during the qualification process. Portugal will play in the Final Qualification Tournament.