Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2023 – 3 Nations To Contest Title
A week out from the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship (ARWC) 2023, China has pulled out of the key tournament taking place in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Championship will now only feature Japan, Hong Kong China, and the hosts Kazakhstan to determine qualification for the WXV as well as confirm Asia’s XV women’s champions.
Asia Rugby (AR) announced a new schedule for the fixtures and made no mention of China not being involved even though they have been scheduled as playing until last week.
The JRFU however said online: “The Chinese national team, which was scheduled to participate in the Women’s Asia Rugby Championship 2023, declined to participate, so the Japanese national team, who was scheduled to play in the semifinals, won by default.”
The ARWC 2023 is vital as it will determine which teams and in which Divisions the national teams will participate in the first WXV due to get underway in 2023.
Based on the initial details on the Asia Rugby website – the ARWC 2023 was going to see two semifinal matches played (Japan vs China, and HK China vs Kazakhstan) with the winners facing off, but Japan now has a bye to the final.
Asian WXV Qualification 2023
The changeup means that Japan automatically will also either play in WXV Division 2 or 3 depending on the outcome of the result in their final versus either Hong Kong China or Kazakhstan who will square off on Tuesday 23rd May 2023, before the final on 28th May 2023.
Both teams who are in the ARWC final 2023 will be guaranteed a spot in WXV – the champions will head to Division 2 of the WXV and the runners-up heading to Division 3.
- WXV Division 2 – Takes place in South Africa from October 14-28 2023. Teams: Scotland, Italy or Spain, One of (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA), Winners of Asia (Japan, Hong Kong China, Kazakhstan), Oceania Winners (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga) and Africa Winners (Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar and South Africa).
- WXV Division 3 – Venue TBC and due to take place from October 14-28 2023. Teams: Ireland, Italy or Spain, Brazil or Colombia, Second place from Asia (Japan, Hong Kong China, Kazakhstan), Oceania 2nd place (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga) and Africa 2nd place (Cameroon, Kenya, Madagascar and South Africa).
Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2023
Hong Kong China – ARWC 2023
Hong Kong China recently toured Europe for two test matches and beat Sweden but lost to the Netherlands in preparation for the ARWC 2023. They also faced off against Kazakhstan at home in December 2022 and won the series 2-0 but it was a tight set of matches.
Japan – ARWC 2023
Japan will be firm favourites but they have not played a test match since the Rugby World Cup 2021 in New Zealand. Head Coach Leslie Mackenzie signed an extension to her contract and will be in charge of the team in Kazakhstan. They have lost some key senior players who have retired since the RWC 2021 but still boast a formidable squad.
There is currently no squad news from Kazakhstan.
Match Officials – Asia Rugby Women’s Championship 2023
The opening match will see Eri Kamimura (Japan Rugby Football Union- JRFU) as the referee, supported by assistant referees Christabelle Lim from Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) and Hibiki Ikeda (JRFU).
The final match of ARWC 2023 sees Christabelle Lim (SRU) as the referee, assisted by Leow Wei Liang (SRU) and Yuliya Ignatenko (Uzbekistan Rugby Federation).
The ARWC 2023 Tournament Marshal is Asia Rugby Competitions Manager Ghaith Jalajel, while Greg Hinton (Mongolia Rugby Union) has been appointed as the TMO and Performance Reviewer.
Simon Ryan (JRFU) is the Citing Commissioner, and Judicial Officers will operate remotely; Shaneet Rai (SRU) for the first match and Dareen Foo (JRFU) for the final.
ARWC Women’s 2023 Matches – Almaty, Kazakhstan
The matches will be played at Almaty Sports Training Complex, Abaya. Matches will be streamed on Asia Rugby’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.
- 23 May 2023 – Hong Kong China 23-27 Kazakhstan 16:00 (+6 GMT) (Video Stream)
- 28 May 2023 – ARCW Finals – Japan 72-0 winner of Hong Kong China vs Kazakhstan 15:00 (+6 GMT) (Video Stream)
Results have been added above.
World Rugby Rankings
Correct at the time of publishing based on World Rugby.
- Japan – #11
- Hong Kong China – #16
- Kazakhstan – #19
Asia Rugby Women’s Division 1 Championship 2023
Asia Rugby said the Asia Rugby Women’s Division 1 Championship is due to be held later this year in India and will feature the Philippines, Singapore and the hosts.
Editors Note – China is included in the top-tier of Asian women’s rugby due to their World ranking we assume (#22) but they have chosen on more than one occasion to not play. Will they be fined by AR as Sri Lanka Rugby was for not sending a women’s team to the Asia Rugby Sevens Series 2022? Will the winner of ARW Division 1 be promoted to the ARWC in 2024 and China be relegated? We will have to wait and see if there is any announcement from the regions governing body.
Asian Rugby News
- ARWC 2023 Match 1 Preview: Hong Kong China vs Kazakhstan
- Everything You Need To Know About WXV.
- Capgemini Women in Rugby Leadership Programme 2023.
- Japan XV and Brave Blossoms 2023 Match Schedule.