April 25, 2014 (ISN) – The Rugby World Cup 2015 dream will still be alive for either Germany or Moldova after the conclusion of the FIRA-AER European Nations Cup 2014 Division 1B on Saturday.
With the two teams locked on 34 points at the top of the table, Germany travel to Enkoping to face Sweden and Moldova take on the Czech Republic in Prague. The champions will earn promotion to the ENC’s top tier and also progress to play Netherlands in the next stage of European qualifying next month.
The winner of that match will earn the right to play Russia (placed third in Division 1A) for the right to represent Europe in the Repechage to determine the 20th and final qualifier for England 2015.
The European representative will play the CAR Africa Cup runner-up in a one-off match in August. The winner will meet either Uruguay or the Asian 5 Nations runner-up over two legs for the prize of a place in Pool A alongside England, Australia, Wales and Oceania 1.
This weekend also sees the start of the Asian 5 Nations Top 5, the competition that will deliver the Asia 1 qualifier to Pool B at next year’s showcase tournament.
Defending champions and Rugby World Cup 2019 hosts Japan, who again start as hot favourites, begin their title defence next weekend. In the opening round on Saturday, Korea will host Sri Lanka in Incheon with the Philippines traveling to Hong Kong.
Rugby World Cup Limited Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “By its conclusion in September, RWC 2015 qualifying will have reached every corner of the globe with more than 3,000 players competing in 203 matches for 83 nations.
“As major Rugby growth regions, Asia and Europe have been at the heart of the process and this weekend’s key matches promise to deliver compelling and competitive matches.”