Georgia have secured their place at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after all remaining games involving Russia in the Rugby Europe Championship 2022 were abandoned, World Rugby announced on Thursday.
Russia and Belarus were last week suspended from all international rugby “until further notice” following the invasion of Ukraine.
The awarding of four match points to each of the three teams set to play Russia – Georgia, Portugal and the Netherlands – means that the Lelos are now guaranteed a top-two finish on the region’s overall qualification table.
Taking results from the Rugby Europe Championship in 2021 and 2022 into account, Georgia cannot be overhauled as the first- or second-ranked team and are still firm favourites to claim the Europe 1 spot at France 2023.
Georgia become the 15th team to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023, following Samoa and Uruguay who secured their places via the regional qualification process in 2021.
Georgia have competed at every Rugby World Cup since their first appearance in the sport’s showcase tournament in Australia in 2003. They achieved a best-ever third-place pool finish at England 2015, but only won one game at the last tournament in Japan.
© Agence France-Presse