HK hosts Asia Rugby’s Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 qualifier
Hong Kong will host the Asia Rugby Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 qualifiers with three teams competing to qualify from Asia. The hosts will take on Japan and Kazakhstan in May 2020.
Update: Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) the dates have been changed.
- February 19th 2020: Asia Rugby confirmed that the dates have changed from March to provisionally May 2020. They said on their website:
“Following the decisions on 14 February to reschedule this year’s Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens tournaments, in light of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, Asia Rugby, in coordination with its participating unions, is rescheduling the 2020 Asia Rugby Women’s Championship in Hong Kong until the provisional dates of 8-12-16 May at the earliest.”
Asia Rugby Women’s Rugby World Cup 2021 Qualifiers
The qualification process for the women’s rugby teams has not been straight forward. Japan and Hong Kong had qualified for the final qualification process a long time ago due to being the only two teams in Asia Rugby’s top division.
However, China had won the Division 1 playoffs comfortably in 2019 and had to play Kazakhstan at home in a two-match playoff series. Kazakhstan didn’t need to play any games to earn that right. In the series between these two teams, played in China to determine the final qualifier, Kazakhstan overcame a 1st match deficit to win with an aggregate score of 23-13.
At the time, it was hinted that despite the loss, China may still be granted a pathway to join Japan, Hong Kong and Kazakstan in the Asia Rugby Premier Division.
Who qualifies for Rugby World Cup 2021 from Asia?
This latest news confirms only three teams will be in contention to earn automatic promotion to the Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand in 2021, while the second-placed team will still have one more opportunity, by taking part in the World Rugby’s repechage competition later in 2020.
The 3 national women’s rugby, Japan, Hong Kong and Kazakhstan, will play a round-robin series and the top placed team on the log will be heading to the RWC 2021. Japan will be favourites and are the highest-ranked team according to World Rugby, with Hong Kong the lowest-ranked team of the three, however, they have home-field advantage and a favourable schedule.
The schedule for the Asia Rugby qualifiers is as follows:
- TBC 2020: Hong Kong vs Kazakhstan
- TBC 2020: Kazakhstan vs Japan
- TBC 2020: Hong Kong vs Japan
World Rugby rankings
- Japan (12)
- Kazakhstan (14)
- Hong Kong (19)
Source: World Rugby
Rugby World Cup 2021 will be the 9th women’s RWC, and surprisingly, the first one to be held in the southern hemisphere (NZ).
Some of the changes to the World Cup in 2021 are:
- Revised match schedule guaranteeing longer rest periods which will greatly benefit player welfare.
- The addition of the quarter-final stage to allow teams a further opportunity to play for a higher position.
- The total tournament window will increase from 23 to 35 days.
- Squad sizes increase from 28 to 30 players.
Which countries have qualified for RWC 2021?
So far the following countries have qualified for the Women’s RWC 2021.
- New Zealand
- South Africa
Rugby news in Asia
- The top Asian national rugby tournaments in 2020.
- Rhino has signed a deal with Asia Rugby until 2024.
- The HK All Women Touch Tournament is in HK this April.
- Instinet All Girls International Rugby Sevens 2020 is in March.