RUGBY WORLD CUP 2023 QUALIFICATION ON THE LINE FOR SAMOA AND TONGA

· Rugby World Cup
by Oceania Rugby

July internationals are bringing several key fixtures for teams involved in the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification process in Oceania, Africa, Europe and South America.

In New Zealand, the Oceania 1 Play-off will be contested by Samoa and Tonga over two legs on neutral soil on 10 July in Auckland and 17 July in Hamilton to determine the team to join England, Japan, Argentina and the Americas 2 qualifier in Pool D in France.

Tonga have only failed to compete at a Rugby World Cup once, in 1991, while Samoa have been ever-presents since failing to secure an invitation to the inaugural tournament in 1987.

With three wins apiece and a draw between them in the last decade, it promises to be a closely fought play-off. The two teams are very close in the World Rugby Men’s Rankings, and Samoa (ranked 14) – regarded as the home team for the first leg – can climb above Tonga (ranked 13) with a victory on Saturday.

The team failing to qualify in the Oceania 1 Play-off will go on to play the Cook Island in the Rugby World Cup 2023 Asia/Pacific Qualifier on 24 July in Pukekohe, New Zealand. The winner of this match will then take on the newly-crowned Asia Rugby Championship 2021 champions, with Hong Kong, Korea and Malaysia the sides in contention for that title, for the Asia/Pacific 1 berth in Pool B.

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2023 is now well underway in our regions and the Oceania 1 Play-Off is an exciting milestone on the road to France 2023 for fans and teams alike. The Pacific Islands continue to influence our sport and the global game with their brand of rugby and history and World Rugby will keep on providing support through grants and high-performance programmes to help them perform at their best. On behalf of World Rugby, I wish the best of luck to all teams in contention.”

Oceania Rugby President Richard Sapias said: “We are looking forward to learning who from Oceania will be joining Australia, Fiji and New Zealand in France at Rugby World Cup 2023. The neutral location for all three matches in this qualification process has been an added hurdle for Samoa, Tonga and Cook Islands however we know the community in New Zealand will be out in force over the coming weeks supporting all three on their qualification pathway.

RWC 2023 qualification process can be found here

Game 1: Saturday 10 July 2021

  • Samoa v Tonga
  • 4:35pm (local time)
  • Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
  • Broadcast: Sky (New Zealand), Stan Sports (Australia), Local Broadcast (Pacific Islands), Flow Rugby (USA)

Samoa

1. Tietie Tuimauga
2. Ray Niuia
3. Michael Alaalatoa (C)
4. Benjamin Nee-Nee
5. Samuel Slade
6. Olajuwon Noa
7. Alamanda Motuga
8. Henry Time-Stowers
9. Auvasa Falealii
10. Rodney Iona
11. Neria Fomai
12. Henry Taefu
13. Stacey Ili
14. Tomasi Alosio
15. Ah See Tuala
16. Seilala Lam
17. Jonah Aoina
18. Kalolo Tuiloma
19. Theo Mcfarland
20. Jack Lam
21. Jonathan Taumateine
22. D’angelo Leuila
23. Ed Fidow

 

Tonga:

1. Jethro Felemi
2. Sam Moli
3. Sila Puafisi
4. Don Lolo
5. Zane Kapeli
6. Sione Tu’ipulotu
7. Mateaki Kafatolu
8. Nasi Manu
9. Sonatane Takulua (C)
10. Kalione Hala
11. Hosea Saumaki
12. Nikolai Foliaki
13. Fine Inisi
14. Penikolo Latu
15. James Faiva
16. Siua Maile
17. Duke Nginingini
18. Ben Tameifuna
19. Harrison Mataele
20. Viliami Taulani
21. Leon Fukofuka
22. Nafi Tu'itavake
23. Sam Vaka