Pacific nations get helping hand for 2019

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Lynn McConnell     13 Nov 2015     Getty Images

All three looked to have to go through an extended qualification process when finishing outside the top three in their respective pools in the 2015 event in England.

However World Rugby announced on Thursday that two teams will qualify from a Pacific Tri Nations championship played on a home and away basis in June 2016 and 2017.

And the team that finishes third in that competition will contest a home and away play-off with the second-ranked team in the Rugby Europe Championship, which excludes Georgia, which will see the aggregate winner go through to Japan in 2019.

The loser will then qualify for a new repechage tournament.

In the Americas section, Canada and the United States will also play home and away with the aggregate qualifying for Japan. The loser will play home and away against the top-ranked South American team, excluding Argentina who have already qualified.

The loser will qualify also for the repechage tournament.

Making up the four teams who will play the repechage tournament in a round-robin former will be the winner of the a home and away series between the highest ranked team from the Asian Rugby Championship, excluding Japan, and the winner of the Oceania Cup.

World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "Rugby World Cup 2015 was the most compelling and competitive Rugby World Cup to date, demonstrating the ever-increasing competitiveness of the world game in 15s.

"We are committed to further increase competitiveness at international level and the Rugby World Cup 2019 regional qualification process is designed to give all full member unions an opportunity to qualify, while delivering the best teams on merit.

"With interest in rugby at an all-time high in Japan, the formalisation of the qualification process, coupled with confirmation of the tournament dates, means that teams and fans alike can now begin the process of planning and preparation," Lapasset said.