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Dubai will be last chance saloon for 4 remaining World Cup hopefuls

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

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World Rugby have confirmed that the final qualification tournament for Rugby World Cup 2023 will take place in Dubai.

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From 6-18 November, four nations will battle it out for the last spot at next year’s tournament in France; with Hong Kong, Kenya, Portugal and USA all still vying for a spot.

The tournament will be played in a round-robin format over three match days (6, 12 and 18 November) at The Sevens Stadium. It will be a hot one too, with an average temperature of around 31 degrees during the day in November.

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The USA Eagles will go into the tournament as heavy favourites despite Gary Gold’s team suffering a shock 52-51 aggregate loss to Chile over two legs in recent weeks.

The Eagles are under huge pressure to qualify following the news that they will host the 2031 Rugby World Cup in nine years time. Qualification for France next year is seen as a vital cog in the process of winning over new fans to the sport in the meantime.

Portugal booked their place in the final repechage by securing third place in in the Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 combined standings.

Kenya will also fight it out for a spot after the Simbas finished as runners-up to Namibia in the Rugby Africa Cup 2022 in France.

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Asia Rugby Championship 2022 winners Hong Kong will try to bounce back from their 22-44 defeat against Tonga last weekend to qualify for the first time.

The winners will take their place in Pool C alongside Wales, Australia, Fiji and Georgia.

“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,” said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont. “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.”

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