The dates that will define Ireland’s Rugby 2021 World Cup destiny has been set.
Ireland will travel to Italy next month to contest the re-scheduled European qualification tournament. World Rugby and Rugby Europe postponed the tournament, originally scheduled for September 2020, for a second time in November 2020 due to the ongoing challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic
Now, the tournament will be played in Zebre's home ground on the 13th, 19th and 25th of September. The winners of the tournament will secure a spot in Pool B of the World Cup where they will face Canada, USA and another Asian team.
Ireland face Scotland, Italy and Spain.
Should Ireland finish second at the European qualification tournament, they will have another chance to book their tickets to New Zealand. They will progress to a global repechage, coming up against Samoa and the second-place finisher from the Asian qualifier.
The winners of the repechage would go into Pool A and face a more difficult task of coming up against hosts New Zealand, Australia and Wales.
Currently, nine teams out of twelve teams have already secured automatic qualification to the World Cup. Ireland missed out on automatic qualification after finishing in eighth place finish in their home tournament four years ago.
The 2021 Rugby World Cup is scheduled to take place in two cities, Auckland and Whangarei. It will be the first time the women's version of the tournament has been hosted in the southern hemisphere.