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‘Focused on raising standards’: Rugby World Cup 2027 expands to 24 teams

By Finn Morton
(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images for England Rugby 2015)

In four years’ time, more nations than ever before will compete for the right to hoist the Webb Ellis Cup with World Cup confirming a four-team expansion for the 2027 men’s Rugby World Cup in Australia.


In an effort to increase “the competitiveness of the global game,” the next men’s World Cup will feature 24 teams spread out across six pools of four.

There will be a round of 16 before the quarter-finals as part of the “biggest revamp since the competition was introduced in 1987.”

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The World Rugby Council has approved the historic change which looks to provide unions and both domestic and international competitions “with greater opportunity and certainty.”

“If we are to become a truly global sport, we must create greater relevance, opportunity and competitiveness to attract new fans and grow value,” World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said in a statement.

“This incredible Rugby World Cup 2023 tournament has demonstrated the passion and potential that lies beyond the top 10 or 12 nations, if we think big and think inclusive. It is not acceptable to accept the status quo. Not acceptable to do nothing.

“The decision to expand Rugby World Cup 2027 to 24 teams is logical and the right thing to do. Underpinned by a new global calendar that increases certainty and opportunity, we are focused on raising standards, closing the gaps and creating a spectacle that fans demand to see. With its love of sport and major events, Australia is the perfect place to do just that.”


New Zealand
South Africa
11 - 12
New Zealand
6 - 44
South Africa
15 - 16
17 - 29
New Zealand
24 - 28
30 - 24
South Africa
28 - 29


The top two teams from each pool will automatically qualify for the round of 16 along with the best fourth-placed teams.

Rugby World Cup 2027 will be run over seven weekends while the pool phase has been reduced to just four weeks.

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin echoed Beaumont’s comments, saying it “is a huge step forward for the game.”

“Today’s decision is the culmination of a process that began in May 2022 with a new Rugby World Cup hosting model, greater collaboration on reform of the international calendar and recognition that the sport needed to evolve,” Gilpin said.


“A reduced pool phase with a more regular cadence of matches and the introduction of a round of 16 makes for a compelling and competitive pool phase where every match counts. To be able to achieve this new format in a reduced window while preserving important player welfare considerations is a huge step forward for the game and great for fans and players.”

RWC 2027 at a glance

  • Rugby World Cup 2027 will be hosted between 1 October and 13 November.
  • The tournament will be expanded from 20 to 24 teams.
  • New reduced six-week (seven-weekend) Rugby World Cup window approved, supporting welfare, entertainment and value imperatives – pool phase reduced from five to four weeks.
  • Round of 16 to be introduced with top two teams from each pool automatically qualifying along with the best four third-placed teams.
  • Decision provides certainty for all stakeholders and maintains Rugby World Cup’s position as the jewel in the crown of the international calendar.
  • Details of the qualification process for Rugby World Cup 2027 will be determined following a full review of France 2023 and consultation with unions and regions.

– “RWC 2027 at a glance” from World Rugby press release


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Rugby 1 hours ago
How Queensland Reds can spark Schmidt's Wallaby revolution

interesting. I did see last year Queensland and Brad Thorn use some bokke moves like the 6-2 bench and a move the bulls did in bringing back the tap and go from 5 out instead of the line out and maul. There can be many errors in a lineout, you loose control esp. if ref calls a borderline not straight, jumping across line, etc etc it is out of your control, then the maul, a few rules can mess you up again in the eyes of a ref, or others, you lose control. At least in a tap and go you control the move and the play, just have to 1. catch the ball and 2 watch the jackling from opposition, 3 watch being held up over try line. WAY to go I reckon. *2024. Tap and go 5 meters out.* The axis is key for Queensland, Wallabies and any union team. Get it right and there is magic. Lynagh McDermott (great cricket name) Wilson So Joe Schmidt will be watching and the Pacific Lions coaches are in Melbourne watching, poach city. I think if Q can get the Kiss of life not the Kiss of death they may well unlock that stacked backline. Vunivalu is improving. Kiss (and Brad Davis, Jonathan Fisher, Zane Hilton and Dale Roberson) and the progressive attacking style may work. He loves coaching. No pressure. Hell he knows the Bokke and Ireland, and time with ulster. Based on his league past he will understand how to break this flat line. He is a hands on skill set coach. One thing I am still waiting to see in union is the skill often shown in league, when 5 meters out they can *kick into the post* get the deflection and wrong foot opposition to score. Good Luck Queensland, hope you do well. They have the Hurricanes next Bula

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