2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifying

The 2021 Rugby League World Cup qualifying process began in June 2018 with the commencement of the 2018 Rugby League European Championship C tournament. Of the 16 nations that will compete in the World Cup, eight were granted automatic qualification, having reached the quarter finals of the 2017 World Cup. The remaining eight places were decided through a qualifying process.

2021 World Cup qualification
Tournament details
DatesJune 2018 – November 2019
Teams29 (from 4 confederations)
2017
2025

Qualified teamsEdit

Region Team Qualification
method
Previous
appearances
Previous best result World
ranking
Americas   Jamaica Americas winner 0 Debut 20
Asia-Pacific   Australia Automatic 15 Champions (1957, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1977, 1985–88, 1989–92, 1995, 2000, 2013, 2017) 2
  Cook Islands Repechage play-off 2 Group stages (2000, 2013) 23
  Fiji Automatic 5 Semi-finals (2008, 2013, 2017) 5
  Tonga Automatic 5 Semi-finals (2017) 4
  New Zealand Automatic 15 Champions (2008) 1
  Papua New Guinea Automatic 7 Quarter-finals (2000, 2017) 6
  Samoa Automatic 5 Quarter-finals (2000, 2013, 2017) 7
Europe   England[a] Hosts 6 Runners-up (1975, 1995, 2017) 3
  France European winners 15 Runners-up (1954, 1968) 8
  Wales[a] European runners-up 5 Semi-finals (1995, 2000) 14
  Scotland[a] Europe play-off 1 4 Quarter-finals (2013) 9
  Ireland[a] Europe play-off 2 4 Quarter-finals (2000, 2008) 12
  Greece Europe play-off 3 0 Debut 11
  Italy Europe play-off 4 2 Group stages (2013, 2017) 13
Middle East-Africa   Lebanon Automatic 2 Quarter-finals (2017) 10
  1. ^ a b c d Competed as part of   Great Britain in nine previous tournaments, finishing as champions on three occasions (1954, 1960, 1972). The squads largely consisted of English players, but also featured Welsh players in every tournament. Scotland (1954, 1968, 1977, 1989–92) and Ireland (1957) were represented by native-born players in some tournaments.

Qualifying processEdit

In October 2016, England was announced as the host the tournament, granting them automatic qualification.[1]

In March 2017, the RLIF confirmed that the 8 quarter-finalists from the 2017 World Cup would receive automatic qualification to the 2021 tournament, along with details of how many slots each region will be allocated: "Seven teams will be qualified from Europe, six from the Asia-Pacific, two from the Americas, and one from a play-off series hosted in Middle East/Africa."[2] Because Lebanon gained automatic qualification, a repechage play-off between the 2nd placed Middle East/Africa team (behind Lebanon), 2nd placed Americas team (behind the Americas qualifying team), and the 7th placed Asia-Pacific team (behind the 6 auto qualifiers) will take place instead of qualifying 2 Americas teams.

The RLIF requires participating nations to hold full or affiliate level membership.[3] The Netherlands are the only such nation that opted to not participate.

EuropeEdit

England are the only European team to have been guaranteed qualification, with France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Wales all failing to reach the quarter finals of the 2017 World Cup. With the World Cup expanding to 16 teams in 2021, one extra European slot is available in comparison to the 2017 tournament.

Preliminary roundsEdit

While the elite division of the 2018 European Rugby League Championship will see the top two teams qualify directly for the World Cup, the other European places will be decided in a play-off containing team from each level of the Championship.

The 2018 European Championship C will progress 1 team to the European play-off, the winner of the Championship C final between Norway and Greece.[4] The 2018 European Championship B will progress 2 teams to the European play-off, Russia and Spain.[4] These three teams will be joined by Italy, and the third and fourth place teams from the elite division.

First roundEdit

The 2018 European Championship will automatically qualify 2 teams to the World Cup, the bottom two nations will become the top seeds in the 2019 final European qualifying tournament.[5][6]

Pos Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
1   France 3 3 0 0 106 38 +68 6 2021 World Cup
2   Wales 3 2 0 1 108 74 +34 4
3   Ireland 3 1 0 2 54 74 −20 2 European play-off
4   Scotland 3 0 0 3 32 114 −82 0
Updated to match(es) played on 12 November 2018. Source: [1]
27 October 2018 Ireland   36−10   Scotland Morton Stadium, Santry
27 October 2018 France   54−18   Wales Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne
2 November 2018 Scotland   12−50   Wales Netherdale, Galashiels
3 November 2018 Ireland   10−24   France Morton Stadium, Santry
10 November 2018 France   28−10   Scotland Stade Albert Domec, Carcassonne
11 November 2018 Wales   40−8   Ireland Racecourse Ground, Wrexham

Second roundEdit

The European play-off tournament will qualify four teams to the World Cup. It is scheduled for October and November 2019 and will consist of:

The six teams will be split into two round-robin pools. The winners and runner-up in each pool will qualify for the 2021 World Cup. There will be no European qualification to the intercontinental play-off.

  1. ^ Russia were the winners of the European Qualifying B tournament but withdrew from the play-offs in August 2019 to be replaced by Serbia.[7]

Pool A

Pos Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
1   Ireland 2 2 0 0 67 12 +55 4 Qualified for World Cup
2   Italy 2 1 0 1 38 29 +9 2
3   Spain 2 0 0 2 12 76 −64 0 Eliminated
First match(es) will be played on October 26, 2019. Source: [2]
26 October 2019 Spain   8–42   Ireland Xàtiva
2 November 2019 Italy   34–4   Spain Lignano Sabbiadoro
9 November 2019 Ireland   25–4   Italy Santry


Pool B

Pos Team Pld W D L PF PA PD Pts Qualification
1   Scotland 2 2 0 0 128 24 +104 4 Qualified for World Cup
2   Greece 2 1 0 1 106 48 +58 2
3   Serbia 2 0 0 2 6 168 −162 0 Eliminated
First match(es) will be played on October 26, 2019. Source: [3]
26 October 2019 Scotland   86–0   Serbia Glasgow
1 November 2019 Greece   24–42   Scotland London
9 November 2019 Serbia   6–82   Greece Belgrade


AmericasEdit

The Americas group comprised four teams and was played as a single elimination knock-out tournament. Jamaica won the group beating Canada in the first round and then United States in the final. United States qualified for the intercontinental play-off by finishing as the runner-up of the tournament.[8]

Preliminary matchesEdit

13 November 2018 Canada   8–38   Jamaica Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville
13 November 2018 United States   62–0   Chile Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville

Play-off matchEdit

17 November 2018 Jamaica   16–10   United States Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville

RepechageEdit

The intercontinental play-off will consist of the Americas championship runner up (United States), 7th highest ranked Asia-Pacific team (Cook Islands), and the 2nd highest ranked Middle East-Africa team (South Africa).

Preliminary matchEdit

21 June 2019 Cook Islands   66−6   South Africa Ringrose Park, Sydney

Play-off matchEdit

16 November 2019 United States   16–38 Cook Islands   Hodges Stadium, Jacksonville

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "England to host RLWC2021 - North America recommended for RLWC2025". RLIF. 27 October 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Statement from the RLIF Board meeting - March 28th 2017". RLIF. 29 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  3. ^ "RLIF - Competitions". RLIF. Retrieved 29 August 2018. It is open to all full and affiliate members of the RLIF.
  4. ^ a b "The Road to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup Begins in Vrchlabi". Rugby League International Federation. 26 March 2018. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  5. ^ "World Cup qualification up for grabs this autumn as Wales face France, Ireland and Scotland in European Championship". Wales Rugby League. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ "Next steps on road to World Cup 2021 revealed for Europe & Americas". Asia Pacific RL. 9 May 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ Caplan, Phil (25 August 2019). "Serbia replace Russia in Rugby League World Cup qualifiers" (Press release). Rugby League European Federation. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Rugby League World Cup: Jamaica reach tournament for first time". BBC Sport. 17 November 2018.