The Webb Ellis Cup has made the trip to Peru for the first time and will be on display for the Sudamérica Rugby B Championship. The event, which is the first qualifier in the South America region for Rugby World Cup 2019, will take place from 2-8 October in Lima and see hosts Peru battling it out with defending champions Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.
Rugby fans in Peru will have a unique opportunity to get up close to the iconic trophy as it goes on display before and during the matches at Complejo Deportivo Niño Héroe Manuel Bonilla de Miraflores in the Peruvian capital as well as making a number of appearances in schools and public places during its brief, but packed visit.
World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “The Webb Ellis Cup is an instantly recognisable symbol of our sport and it is important for it to be accessible to rugby fans everywhere. Lima may not be seen as a global hotbed of the game but Peruvians who follow the sport do so with just as much passion as anywhere else.
“With a very special Rugby World Cup 2015 fresh in our memories, we are excited to be launching the South American qualification process for Japan 2019. What is special about this process is that there is a genuine and clear pathway for member unions to make it to the tournament and we know that unforgettable moments will be shared by the players and teams who are beginning their Rugby World Cup journey. Ambitious unions can use qualification for rugby’s showpiece tournament as something to aim for and, in the years to come, I believe we can expect to see new teams make their Rugby World Cup debuts.
“I can’t say whether Peru, Colombia, Venezuela or Ecuador will be one of the teams that makes it all the way to Japan but the point is that they have the chance to do so. In many ways, Rugby World Cup is not just a tournament of 20 teams but in fact it is designed to include all 103 full member unions. I would like to thank Sudamérica Rugby and the Federación Peruana de Rugby (FPR) for hosting these matches and for being part of this great tournament.”
Los Tucanes from Colombia will start the tournament as favourites and will be looking for a hat-trick, having won this tournament in 2014 and 2015. No cash will be charged at the gate on match days but spectators are asked to bring some non-perishable food items as part of an ongoing charitable initiative to tackle hunger in the region.
President of Sudamérica Rugby Marcelo Rodríguez said: “We are looking forward to this tournament greatly. It will be a highly attractive event in itself but with the added attraction of starting the South American road towards Rugby World Cup 2019. Teams have been working hard towards this and we are seeing the fruits of that effort year after year, both at domestic and international level.
“Importantly, the South American B champion will go on to play the winner of the equivalent tournament in Rugby Americas North – one of our stated goals, aligned with World Rugby strategy, is to increase cross-regional competition.”
President of the Federación Peruana de Rugby Maser Madueño Posth said: “Having an international tournament in Peru allows us to generate development opportunities, adding Miraflores as a new district with an academy and international stadium. It is also a great opportunity for our generous sponsors to gain profile and for us to generate identity as once again we will see our community supporting our beloved Tumis as we take the game to new players and fans.
“To have the famous Webb Ellis Cup on display in Lima is a great honour for us and will create huge excitement among sports fans here. It is the first time the cup will have been in Peru so we are looking forward to putting on show for the entire country to admire.”
With 12 teams having secured their place at Japan 2019 courtesy of finishing in the top three of their respective pools, the remaining eight places will be determined by a process of regional and cross-regional qualifiers and, for the first time, a stand-alone round-robin repechage tournament to determine the final qualifier in 2018. All qualified teams will be known by November 2018. Meanwhile, the pool allocation draw for RWC 2019 will take place in May 2017 in Japan.
Sudamérica Rugby B Championship 2016
Sunday 2 October
14:00 – Colombia v Ecuador (One)
16:00 – Venezuela v Peru (Two)
Wednesday 5 October
14:00 – Winner One v Loser Two
16:00 – Winner Two v Loser One
Saturday 8 October
14:00 – Third-place play-off
16:00 – Final