The Rugby 2023 World Cup Guide

The Rugby 2023 World Cup Guide

Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome will host two of the semi-finals

Along with death and taxes, the other constant in life is that the Rugby World Cup will roll round every four years, and believe it or not, we are almost exactly a year away from the next cycle. With rugby being fortunate enough to have missed the full impact of Covid with regards to the timing of its biggest tournament, and its authorities being slightly less easily swayed by the promise of the dollar than some sports which will remain nameless, it is business as usual. So, who, what and when are the questions we will answer in this whistle stop guide to next year’s competition.

Who will be there?
With Hong Kong, Kenya, Portugal and the USA fighting it out in November in Dubai for the final spot, the participants are all but decided, and the groups already drawn.
Pool A:
New Zealand

Pool B:
South Africa

Pool C:
Final qualifier

Pool D:
As usual, the competition will be the showcase for the best players in the world, many of them still young who will see this as their breakout tournament. Like with many sports, the age of the truly eccentric sports star appears to be over, but the added professionalism in the game has not reduced the sheer creativity and breadth of the talent on show. With the likes of Will Jordan, Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont to name just three of those who will be looking to stamp their name and authority on all seven weeks in France next Autumn, it is a mouth-watering prospect, regardless of where you are from.

Where is it being held?

Parc Olympique Lyonnais, Décines-Charpieu

France are holding it for the third time in the tournament’s history and it comes at the start of a very busy period for the nation. The Olympics are being hosted there less than 12 months later, and the Rugby League World Cup the following year in 2025. The 2023 competition is being played at nine venues spread right across the country. The Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris hosts the final, both semi-finals and two of the quarter-finals, as well as the tasty-looking curtain raiser between France and New Zealand on the 8th of September. The other host cities are Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Saint-Étienne, Nice, Nantes and Toulouse.
When is it taking place?
The first game is on the 8th of September with the final being held on the 28th of October. Ireland’s first game is on the 9th of September, when they play Rumania, with games on the 16th of September, 23rd of September and the 7th of October against Tonga, South Africa and Scotland respectively. The quarter-finals take place on the 14th and 15th of October, with the semis on the 20th and 21st.
A tournament of firsts
The format has not changed from previous tournaments, but there are some changes of note. Of the teams already qualified, it will be the first time Chile will be at a world cup when they join fellow South Americans Uruguay and Argentina. The other big change revolves around the length of the tournament. As opposed to the traditional six weeks, the 2023 World Cup will take place over a seven-week period. This comes about as a result of the new regulations that require a minimum of five days rest between all matches.
The host nation will be hoping it is the first time they manage to go all the way after falling at the final hurdle three times previously. If they do, they will become only the second northern hemisphere team to lift the cup.

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