Your Guide to the Asia Rugby 2021 Competitions
The Asia Rugby 2021 Competitions calendar was announced this week for the national teams in the region, which include the women’s and men’s fifteens Asia Rugby Championships that will determine RWC 2021 and RWC 2023 qualifiers from Asia.
In addition, the Asia Rugby Sevens Series, Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Fifteens Tournament, U18 Boys and Girls and other Asia Rugby 2021 Competition dates have been confirmed or have a placeholder date. The schedules for all Asian rugby tournaments in 2020 were wiped out due to COVID-19.
Asia Rugby President, Mr Qais Al Dhalai said: “We are very excited about the Return of Rugby across Asia, some of our unions have already kicked off their domestic tournaments and it’s the time now for international rugby as well”.
(We will update dates as they are released – we expect there to be delays and postponements – Last Update September 2021)
Asia Rugby 2021 15s Competitions
Asia Rugby Women’s Championship (Rugby World Cup 2023 Qualifier)
Hong Kong was due to host the Asia Rugby Women’s Championship (ARWC), which was initially scheduled for 2020, but this was then postponed to a tentative October 2021 date. (On February 10th, it was confirmed the qualifiers would be postponed and these were greenlit in August).
The championship was due to determine the qualifiers for the Rugby World Cup 2021. The international tournament was due to take place in September 2021 in New Zealand but was postponed until 2022.
Hong Kong was to compete with Japan and Kazakhstan in a round-robin format and the winner will represent Asia at the RWC 2021 and feature in Pool B with Canada, USA and Italy.
However, World Rugby announced in October 2021 that Japan would now automatically qualify for RWC 2021 and HK and Kazakhstan will compete in play-off matches to determine the RWC 2021 Asia Qualification and which team will progress to the Final Qualification Tournament.
Asia Rugby Women’s Division 1
The ARWD1 details were still to be finalised with the competing nations due to be the Philippines, India, Singapore and China. It was confirmed in May 2021 it would not take place in 2021.
- Due Date: Cancelled
- Venue: Cancelled
Asia Rugby Men’s Championship (ARMC) & RWC 2023 Qualifier
The Asia Rugby Men’s Championship (ARMC) will see Hong Kong, South Korea, and Malaysia challenge for top honours- initially planned to be played from May-June 2021*.
The format should be the same as previous years with the national teams playing each other home and away in the group, however, in 2021 the ARMC is a qualification pathway for the Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
Asia Rugby says the winning ARMC nation will play Oceania 2 in a one-off game which will be hosted by the team with the highest ranking**. The winner of the one-off match will secure a direct spot in the RWC 2023, and the loser will proceed to the final qualification tournament.
*It is expected the ARC might now be played in January 2022 TBC.
Men’s ARC 2021 Fixtures
Potentially in January 2022*
- TBC ARMC M1: South Korea V Malaysia (Incheon)
- TBC ARMC M2: Malaysia V Hong Kong (Kuala Lumpur)
- TBC ARMC M3: South Korea V Hong Kong (Incheon)
- TBC ARMC M4: Malaysia V South Korea (Kuala Lumpur)
- TBC ARMC M5: Hong Kong V Malaysia (Hong Kong)
- TBC ARMC M6: Hong Kong V South Korea (Hong Kong)
Asia Rugby Men’s Championship Division 2
The ARMC Division 2 will see Pakistan, Thailand, China, Taipei challenge for the title.
The tournament was scheduled to take place in Lahore, Pakistan in Q4 2021. We assumed the division winners will gain promotion while the bottom-placed team will be relegated as per previous years.
It appears as if this is cancelled in 2021.
Men’s ARC Division 2 Fixtures 2021
- Due Date: Cancelled
- Venue: Cancelled
Asia Rugby Men’s Championship Division 3
The details for the ARMC Division 3 were not confirmed with tentative dates for April 2021 suggested by Asia Rugby. In May it was confirmed to be cancelled in 2021.
Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Championship Fifteens Tournament
The Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Fifteens Tournament was due to be a rescheduling of 2020 tournament – due to commence on 31 March 2021, featuring Chinese Taipei, South Korea, Sri Lanka, and Hong Kong. This was postponed again due to COVID and looked to be cancelled
Asia Rugby said it’s “fully committed to the health and safety of players, fans and everyone working on the events” but a schedule of 3 full fifteens games for the U19s in the space of a week seems like quite a challenge for the players.
The age-grade rugby tournament will serve as the pathway to the Junior World Trophy 2021.
The actual Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Fifteens Tournament 2021 tournament is now due to take place from 5-13 December 2021 in Colombo, Sri Lanka with the addition of Sri Lanka as hosts.
UPDATE– by November 2021 this had been removed from the Asia Rugby calendar but no explanation was provided.
Men’s U19 Men’s 15s Fixtures (2020 rescheduled tournament) CANCELLED
- 5 December 2021: Taipei vs Korea, Hong Kong vs Sri Lanka
- 9 December 2021: Taipei vs Hong Kong, Korea vs Sri Lanka
- 13 December 2021: Sri Lanka vs Taipei, Hong Kong vs Korea
Men’s U19 Men’s 15s Fixtures 2021 (2021 tournament) CANCELLED
- 5 November: Taipei vs Korea, Hong Kong vs Sri Lanka
- 9 November: Taipei vs Hong Kong, Korea vs Sri Lanka
- 13 November: Sri Lanka vs Taipei, Hong Kong vs Korea
Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Division 1 Fifteens Tournament
Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines were set to challenge the Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Division 1 in 2021 in Hat Yai, Thailand. This was cancelled in May 2021.
Asia Rugby U19 Men’s Division 2 Fifteens Tournament
The details for the U19 Men’s Asia Rugby Division 2 were to be confirmed, with China, UAE, Laos and Pakistan involved. Lahore, Pakistan was a possible host venue but this tournament was cancelled in May 2021.
Asia Rugby 2021 Sevens Competitions
Asia Rugby Sevens Series 2021 (Men’s & Women’s)
The Asia Rugby Sevens Series was originally scheduled for three legs for the women and men, with the series being played in South Korea, China and Sri Lanka, from September -November 2021.
This will feature the top 8 Men’s and 8 Women’s Sevens teams from Asia and as the qualifier for the Sevens Rugby World Cup 2022.
The dates and venues have changed several times but now the dates and venue were confirmed by Asia Rugby in September 2021, with Dubai set to host a one-off series event.
- South Korea
- Hong Kong
- Sri Lanka
- Hong Kong
- Sri Lanka
- 19-20 November 2021 – Asia Rugby Sevens Series Leg 1: Dubai, UAE
Asia Rugby Men’s & Women’s Sevens Trophy
A date of 13-14 November 2021 had been set with the venue as Jakarta, Indonesia – this tournament was cancelled in May 2021 with a regional approach suggested (see below).
Asia Rugby Under 20 Series Men’s & Women’s
A tentative October 2021 date had been set for the Asia Rugby Under 20 Women’s & Men’s Sevens- this looks to have been cancelled.
Asia Rugby Under 18 Girls Sevens
The Asia Rugby U18 Girls 7s tournament was scheduled to take place in Tashkent from September 18-19 2021. and included India, UAE, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan. UAE won the tournament, beating India in the final.
- 18-19 September 2021 in Tashkent.
Asia Rugby Under 18 Boys Sevens
A date of 21-22 August 2021 had been scheduled for the Asia Rugby U18 Boys Sevens rugby, but the tournament looks to be cancelled.
Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2021
Mid-2021 Asia Rugby announced a new Sub Regional Sevens Competitions, confusingly called the Asia Rugby Sevens Trophy 2021.
- Asia Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Trophy West Asia 7s: Hosted by Qatar from 8-9 October 2021 was won by UAE.
UPDATE* Lebanon Rugby posted on August 12, 2021, that following a meeting between Lebanon Rugby and Asia Rugby, they agreed that Lebanon will no longer Host the West Asian 7s event due between the 9-12 September, because of the present situation in Lebanon.
- Asia Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Trophy South and Central Asia 7s: Hosted by Uzbekistan from 30-31 October 2021. This appears to have been cancelled.
- Asia Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Trophy East and South East Asia 7s: Hosted by Thailand from 13-14 November 2021. This appears to have been cancelled.
- Asia Rugby Sevens UAE Trophy 2021 – Asia Rugby announced the participating nations and Pools for this tournament which will take place in Dubai from 26th – 27th November at the Dubai Sports City. It’s not clear if this replaces the tournament in Uzbekistan?
Beach & Snow Rugby in Asia
Mr Qais Al Dhalai also added that “Asia Rugby has also explored various innovative opportunities aiming at serving its member unions and fans in the forms of Beach Rugby, and Snow Rugby”.
No details for those tournaments have been announced but a placeholder in June for Beach Rugby does appear on the calendar.
The calendar of tournaments can also be seen on the Asia Rugby website.
Global Rugby events 2021
2021 is a busy year for rugby – In addition to the number of Asian rugby tournaments announced, there are some huge global rugby events taking place.
The Black Ferns (New Zealand) are the defending champions and will be favourites at their home RWC, the first to be played in the southern hemisphere.
Olympic 7s Tokyo
The Tokyo Olympics 7s rugby for women and men will be played in 2021 after the event was moved from 2020 due to coronavirus.
The men’s rugby 7s teams will play across the first three days (25-27 July 2021) with the finals set for Wednesday, July 28 2021. The women’s rugby sevens games will take place from the 29-30th July 2021 with the finals taking place on Saturday, July 31 2021.
Lions Tour to South Africa
The British & Irish Lions comprises some of the best players from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland and they tour every four years on rotation to South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. In 2021 the Lions were due to head to South Africa for matches from the 26th July – 7th August 2021 but alternatives are still being looked into due to the global pandemic.
Japan was due to play the British & Irish Lions in 2021 at BT Murrayfield in Scotland in an international rugby test match on Saturday 26 June 2021 before the Series.
2021 SEA Games
The 2021 Southeast Asian Games (the 31st SEA Games) is scheduled to take place in Hanoi, Vietnam from 21 November to 2 December 2021, although rugby sevens will not be included in this edition of the Games.
UPDATE– The SEA Games were then rescheduled to take place in 2022.
Asian Touch Cup 2021 (TBC)
The inaugural Asian Touch Cup was planned for 2020 to be hosted in Shanghai, China. However, the tournament was scrapped in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The Federation of International Touch said an announcement would be made to confirm the event in 2021, with the FIT website indicating a provisional 2022 date.
We will update this article on Asia Rugby 2021 Competitions as information is made available.
Asian Rugby News
- Asia Rugby Confirms its new EXCO 2021-2024.
- Rhino has signed a deal with Asia Rugby until 2024.
- SRU National League 2020-2021 Delayed.
- HKRU New Years Day Youth Rugby Tournament 2021.