Argentina and Scotland are likely to end up in Pools of Death for the 2023 Rugby World Cup with the draw for the competition still set to take place in November later this year despite the disruption to the 2020 rugby calendar due to coronavirus, according to reports out of France.
The Head of Rugby World Cup France 2023, Claude Atcher, spoke to French paper L’Équipe and confirmed that the draw would not be postponed from the planned November 30 date.
The inability to move the date of the draw for the competition and lack of test rugby being played this year led Atcher to suggest that the rankings used for the draw could be the standings from the Rugby World Cup in Japan if the 2020 Six Nations is not completed.
This would be unwelcomed news for the likes of Scotland and Argentina who finished the World Cup ranked 9th and 10th respectively after the tournament in Japan.
In turn, it would be welcomed news for Japan who have dropped from 8th to 9th since the World Cup and were set to host England and Wales before the draw.
Argentina and Scotland would be forced into a pool with two teams ranked inside the top eight and could see them miss out on the competition's playoffs for a second tournament runinng.
World Rankings after the World Cup in Japan:
- South Africa
- New Zealand
Seeding based on rankings after World Cup:
Band 1 teams: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales
Band 2 teams: Ireland, Australia, France, Japan
Band 3 teams: Scotland, Argentina, Fiji, Italy
Band 4 teams: Africa 1, Europe 1, Oceania 1, Americas 1
Band 5 teams: Oceania 2, Americas 2, Repechage 1, Repechage 2
Atcher laid out three potential scenarios:
- Scenario 1: If the international tours (July and autumn) are cancelled and the last matches of the Six Nations cannot be played, the world rankings used will be standings after the World Cup 2019 - therefore none of the games from the Six Nations played this year will come into account.
- Scenario 2: If the International tours and the last matches of the Six Nations Tournament are played by November 30, the world rankings published before the draw will be used.
- Scenario 3: If the last matches of the Six Nations are played by November 30 but none of the international tours go ahead, the world ranking chosen would be the standings last published before the draw.