World Rugby have announced that Dubai will be the venue for the final qualification tournament for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France during November.
Tonga became the 19th team to qualify for the global showpiece when they beat Hong Kong on Australia’s Gold Coast at the weekend.
Final spot up for grabs
Hong Kong will now do battle with Kenya, the United States and Portugal at the Sevens Stadium in Dubai from 6 to 18 November for the final spot at next year’s World Cup.
Hong Kong (Asia/Pacific 2), Kenya (Africa 2), Portugal (Europe 3) and USA (Americas 3) are set to face each other over three matchdays on a round robin basis, and the country who amass the most points will then advance to the World Cup.
Portugal were the first to nation to secure their spot in the final qualification tournament after they finished in third place at the Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 combined standings.
Kenya joined Portugal on July 10 after they finished as runners-up to Namibia in the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 in France.
The Simbas were in a similar situation when they reached the final qualification stage for the 2019 World Cup and are hoping to make their debut at next year’s showpiece event.
Meanwhile, after suffering a narrow 52-51 aggregate defeat to Chile in the Americas 2 play-off earlier this month, the USA Eagles will be determined to finish at the top of the table in Dubai as that would seal their position at the World Cup for the seventh successive time.
World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “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.
“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.
“We are also delighted to partner with Dubai for this important milestone. 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.”