World Rugby's new, revolutionary Rugby World Cup format has been explained and it sounds ridiculous - Ruck

World Rugby’s new, revolutionary Rugby World Cup format has been explained and it sounds ridiculous

According to reports, World Rugby is planning to expand the Rugby World Cup starting from the 2031 tournament as part of their ongoing efforts to promote the growth of the game worldwide.

The Times has stated that the United States is advocating for the expansion to include 24 teams and the addition of a last-16 stage when they host the tournament in 2031. This would mark the first time the tournament is held in the Americas.

In 2018, World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper expressed his belief that expansion was a matter of “when rather than if,” and Bill Beaumont supported this sentiment by expressing his eagerness to involve more nations in the tournament.

Under the proposed expansion, the format would change from four groups of five teams with the top two advancing. Instead, there would be six groups of four teams, with all group winners and runners up automatically progressing, along with the three best third-place teams.

The seeding process for such a tournament would be considerably more intricate compared to the current system.


The Rugby World Cup typically takes place from September to October. In the United States, this would overlap with the 2031 NFL season and the 2031 Major League Soccer season.

As many of the proposed venues are NFL stadiums and Major League Soccer stadiums, there is the possibility of the tournament being held during the summer months (June–September) to avoid clashing with the both leagues’ schedules. However, a determination of scheduling is yet to be made.


A total of 24 cities have been shortlisted for the 2031 Rugby World Cup. Shortlisted cities include Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New York City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Most of the proposed venues are NFL stadiums, with a number of MLS stadiums in the running as well.

Among the 24 cities which are under consideration, 11 of them have been selected as host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“Horror draw” – England get pool of death in revised World Cup draw

The recently released World Rugby Rankings highlight the absurdity of the Pool Draw for the upcoming Rugby World Cup 2023, which was determined three years in advance and appears to be heavily skewed.

In response to criticism, World Rugby has announced that future pool draws for the Rugby World Cup will be conducted closer to the start of the tournament, as the current practice of relying on team rankings at the time of the draw is deemed unfair.

According to a report by the Mirror, World Rugby will make changes to the pool draw process for the 2027 edition.

“World Rugby said it is able to make the change because of a new ‘hosting model’ that sees the international federation create collaborations with the host union,” the report read.

“The top of the men’s Test game has never been more competitive,” the spokesperson added. “There has never been so much movement over a two-year period.


“Bearing that in mind and noting the format of four pools of five teams, there is arguably no perfect time for a draw.”

As a result, the guys over at Eggchasers Rugby put together their own drawer the 2023 tournament based on the current World Rugby rankings.

Concentrating on only the top 10 countries in the world, it looks significant.

It was very different with England handed a much sterner test in their pool. Watch the full video here.

POOL A actual draw:

  • France
  • New Zealand

POOL A up to date draw

  • France
  • Australia