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Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe qualifier dates announced

Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe qualifier dates announced

Madia Italy

Ireland, Scotland and Italy can claim one of the final three spaces at the delayed Rugby World Cup 2021 in September’s Europe Qualifier.

The trio of Women’s Six Nations sides are joined by Rugby Europe’s Women’s Championship 2020 winners Spain, with the winner of the rescheduled round robin qualifier, after the tournament in New Zealand was put back a year amid the pandemic, securing the Europe 1 spot in Pool B.

The runner-up will progress to the Final Qualification Tournament which, together with the Asia qualifier, will provide the final two teams for the World Cup which is due to be held between October 8 and November 12 in 2022.

The Europe qualifying tournament will take place on September 13, 19 and 25, 2021, and will be held in Italy at the home of Zebre Rugby Club, Parma’s Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi.

Reigning Women’s Six Nations champions England as well as runners-up France have already secured their spots at the Rugby World Cup based on their final ranking at the 2017 edition in Ireland.

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They are joined by hosts New Zealand, Canada, USA, Australia and Wales, while South Africa and Fiji have already progressed through regional qualification tournaments.

Rugby World Cup 2021 tournament director Alison Hughes said: “The global disruption caused by Covid-19 has been frustrating for all unions still within the pathway but we appreciate the patience and flexibility shown by our unions and their efforts to ensure the qualification process can be completed safely and fairly.”

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FIR president Marzio Innocenti added: “Our successful bid for hosting the European RWC 2021 qualifier perfectly witnesses once more the Italian rugby resilience.

“We faced an unprecedented struggle over the last months, never keeping our heads down and being focused and questioning ourselves how to retake full control of our destiny, while keeping health and safety of each of our players and clubs at the very core of our commitment.

“We developed world-class protocols and procedures, which World Rugby recognized in assigning to Italy the Rugby World Cup Qualifier which will entitle one European team to compete in New Zealand in 2022.

“As FIR President I can’t and won’t hide we’re extremely proud for hosting the event, a pride I want to share with every single Italian rugby player.

“I’d also want to thank the Emilia-Romagna Region, Parma’s municipality, Zebre and the local clubs for immediately making themselves available to host, support and make this event the best possible one for the Teams.”

The full match schedule for the Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe qualifier will be released at a later date.