World Rugby has today announced the venue for the Rugby World Cup 2019 repechage tournament as the Stade Delort in Marseille, France.
Four teams will compete in the round-robin format event to be played across three match days on Sunday 11 November, Saturday 17 November and Friday 23 November, 2018.
The repechage tournament is a new concept for Rugby World Cup qualification and represents the last opportunity for a team to qualify for Japan 2019 with four nations fighting it out to secure the 20th and final place at the Rugby World Cup.
Last weekend Hong Kong confirmed their place in the repechage with a convincing 77-3 aggregate victory over the Cook Islands. They join Canada, who were confirmed in the repechage in February following their defeat to Uruguay in the Americas 2 play-off over two legs.
The third team will be decided when Germany face Samoa in Heidelberg on Saturday (kick-off: 16:00 local time). The winner will qualify automatically for RWC 2019 as the Play-off Winner while the loser will enter the repechage. Samoa head in to the game in a strong position for automatic qualification following their 66-15 victory in the first-leg of the play-off in Apia.
The line-up will be completed on 18 August when the Rugby Africa Gold Cup comes to a conclusion with the champions qualifying directly for Japan 2019, and the runners-up entering the repechage.
The winner of the repechage will slot into Pool B at RWC 2019 alongside defending champions New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and the Africa 1 qualifier.
The Stade Delort in Marseille is a 5,000 capacity venue which has previously hosted rugby and major sports events in France’s second largest city in the Provence region.
The announcement follows hot on the heels of the French Rugby Federation’s successful hosting of the record-breaking World Rugby U20 Championships across three venues in southern France last month and comes ahead of France’s hosting of Rugby World Cup 2023.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “The repechage tournament is going to be a very hotly-contested event with the ultimate prize of a place at the Rugby World Cup at stake. Marseille can look forward to three match days of thrilling rugby between nations from four different continents.
“Following the outstanding success of the recent World Rugby U20 Championship in southern France, we are delighted to partner with the French Rugby Federation again to deliver this important tournament as France continues to advance its preparations for hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023.”
French Rugby Federation President Bernard Laporte said: “I am delighted that France will be hosting the repechage tournament for Rugby World Cup 2019. It’s a very important event because four teams will compete in Marseille to get the last spot for the Rugby World Cup in Japan. By hosting this tournament, the FFR reinforces it’s commitment to help developing rugby worldwide. It’s also a pretty glimpse to the Rugby World Cup 2023. I wish to thank SMUC Rugby who partners with the FFR for the success of such an event.”
Demand for tickets to Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan has been phenomenal with over 2.5 million ticket applications in the initial sales phases. The next opportunity to secure tickets begins on 19 September with the opening of the general ticket sales ballot open to the general public. Fans who have been unsuccessful in securing tickets so far are encouraged to keep trying as tickets are still available for all matches and in all categories, across the entire tournament.