Following Tonga’s withdrawal from the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship 2019 on health grounds, World Rugby has announced a revised Rugby World Cup 2021 qualification process.
Tonga withdrew from the Championship in Fiji under the instruction from the Fijian Government with consultation from the World Health Organisation, due to an outbreak of measles.
Tonga did not participate in the opening rounds and were subsequently withdrawn from the remainder of the tournament, which doubles as a Rugby World Cup 2021 qualifier event.
The tournament was due to produce a directly qualified team for Rugby World Cup 2021 and a team to participate in the Repechage tournament.
Recognising the level of investment made by teams to participate in this tournament, and to provide Tonga with an opportunity to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2021, the following process has been agreed by the Rugby World Cup Limited Board:
- The Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship will confirm the best placed team who will qualify directly for Rugby World Cup 2021.
- In early 2020, Tonga will travel to the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship’s to take on Papua New Guinea for a play-off.
- The winner of that match will play against Samoa to decide who will compete in the Repechage tournament
- Rugby World Cup Limited will cover the costs of both additional test matches, with fixture details to be announced in due course.
Both Australia and New Zealand have already secured qualification for Rugby World Cup 2021 as a result of finishing in the top seven placed teams at Rugby World Cup 2017 in Ireland.
Fiji has now also qualified, after winning the qualifier round against Manusina Samoa last weekend.