Scotland to play 2022 Rugby World Cup qualification tournament next month

Bryan Easson's side will play a round-robin competition against Spain, Ireland and Italy in Parma (Italy) in mid-September

Lisa Thomson and her Scotland team-mates will face Italy in September as part of their 2021 Rugby World Cup qualification campaign. Image: © Craig Watson -
Lisa Thomson and her Scotland team-mates will face Italy in September as part of their 2021 Rugby World Cup qualification campaign. Image: © Craig Watson -

SCOTLAND’S path to the 2022 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand will require Bryan Easson’s side to play a round-robin qualifying tournament against fellow European hopefuls Spain, Ireland and Italy in Parma’s Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi, home of the Zebre Rugby Club, in mid-September.

The top team from that competition will book a spot in Group B at Rugby World Cup 2022 alongside Canada, USA and the ‘Asia 1’ qualifier (Hong Kong, Japan or Kazakhstan), while the runner-up will enter the Final Qualification Tournament where they will compete against the second placed teams in the Asia and Oceania (already confirmed as Samoa) regional tournaments, plus the winner of a play-off between Columbia (the South America regional qualifier) and Kenya (the second-placed team from the Africa regional qualifier).

The three rounds of matches in the European qualifier will be played on Monday 13th, Sunday 19th and Saturday 25th September, with a full match schedule and further details in relation to the Final Qualification Tournament to be announced at a later stage.

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The World Cup was initially scheduled to be be played this Autumn, but was postponed by a year in March due to the Covid pandemic, so it will now take place between 8th October and 12th November 2022 in the cities of Auckland and Whangārei.

Nine teams have already booked their place at the main tournament, including New Zealand, England, France, Canada, USA, Australia and Wales, who qualified through their final ranking at RWC 2017 in Ireland, and South Africa and Fiji who qualified through the regional qualification tournaments.

Scotland have not qualified for a World Cup since finishing eighth at 2010 tournament in England. They will have to be at their best if they are to break that streak this time round. They lost 20-41 at home to Italy during this year’s Six Nations. As that tournament was split into two pools, they did not play Ireland, but have managed just one win (12-15 in Dublin in 2018) from the last 14 matches between the two sides. Meanwhile, Spain are not involved in the Six Nations, but Scotland did manage a 12-36 win in a friendly in Almería in January 2020, having lost the three previous encounters.

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There has been an increased focus on the women’s game in Scotland in recent years and it is generally agreed that the national team has become more competitive, so head coach Easson is justified in believing that qualification is within reach.

“Despite the challenges of the past year, our goal of Rugby World Cup qualification has remained the same,” he said.

“The squad continued to work hard after the end of the Six Nations tournament in April and following a two week break in July, they have stepped up the intensity and are looking forward to another preparation camp in Largs next week.

“With the tournament on the horizon, our focus now is to turn the hard work into solid performances on the pitch.”

Rugby World Cup 2021 Tournament Director, Alison Hughes, said: “We are pleased to be able to share the details of the rescheduled Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe qualifier. 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. Next year’s Rugby World Cup is shaping up to be a truly spectacular event and we can’t wait to see the world’s top women’s 15s players take the stage in New Zealand.”

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About David Barnes 3989 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.