The qualification process for the next Rugby World Cup is set to be changed, meaning the Pacific nations who didn’t directly qualify at this tournament will have a better chance of playing in Japan 2019.
New Zealand Rugby boss Steve Tew revealed to 3 News there have been a lot of meetings behind the scenes of the tournament to make sure countries like Fiji, Samoa and Tonga don’t miss out.
The 2015 tournament has been a financial windfall for World Rugby but costly for Pacific nations.
Fiji, Samoa and Tonga have all dropped below 10th in the world rankings and none of them qualify automatically for the next World Cup.
Organisers have moved fast to change the qualifying rules for Oceania – so there’s still hope for all three teams.
“We made a decision yesterday at World Rugby around qualifying of 2019 which will assist Oceania,” Tew said.
“But they are going to have to mark that other countries are moving and moving quickly. It’s not easy when players are playing professionally up here. Bit harder when they’re so far away and I think that’s part of the problem.”
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