Hong Kong, Kenya, Portugal and the USA Eagles will battle it out in the heat of Dubai to fill the final pool spot at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
World Rugby has confirmed that a final qualification tournament will take place in a round-robin format at The Sevens Stadium from 6-18 November.
The winners will take their place in Pool C alongside Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia at next year’s showpiece.
USA will go into the tournament as favourites despite a shock 52-51 aggregate loss to Chile over two legs recently. The Eagles are also under pressure to qualify after earning the right to host the 2031 World Cup, with qualification for France next year regarded as key to winning over new fans to the sport.
Portugal booked their place in the Dubai showdown by finishing third in the Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 combined standings, while Kenya will make the trip as runners-up to Namibia in the Rugby Africa Cup 2022.
Asia Rugby Championship 2022 winners Hong Kong will try to bounce back from a 22-44 defeat by Tonga on Saturday to qualify for a first World Cup appearance.
“There is only one remaining ticket for Rugby World Cup 2023, and it will all comes down to a fantastic final qualification tournament hosted in Dubai this November,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.
“The four participating teams have proven their worth during a challenging qualifying process that started in March 2021 and they will give their absolute best to join the France 2023 adventure. Rugby fans worldwide can expect an outstanding and hard-fought tournament.
“Dubai and its Sevens Stadium are an iconic rugby stronghold and represent an ideal and neutral location for teams coming from the four corners of the globe, with world-class infrastructures for teams to perform.”
Photo: Bradley Rex/Getty Images
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