Rugby World Cup 2023 match schedule announced

Antoine Dupont 14/2/2021
France 2023 will see the hosts kick off the tournament against three-time champions New Zealand after the match schedule for the Rugby World Cup was announced.

France 2023 will see the hosts kick off the tournament against three-time champions New Zealand after the match schedule for the Rugby World Cup was announced.

Fabien Galthie’s men will begin their quest for global glory on home soil by welcoming the All Blacks to Stade de France for the opening match on September 8, 2023.

The opening weekend will also include a spectacular double-header in Marseille, starting with 2019 runners-up England launching their Pool D campaign against Argentina on September 9.

That will be followed by the reigning world champions South Africa beginning their title defence against Guinness Six Nations side Scotland the following day in the south of France.

Wales will also begin their Pool C campaign on September 10, with Wayne Pivac’s side facing Fiji in Bordeaux, which will also host Ireland’s opener against a European qualifier the previous day.

Andy Farrell’s Ireland will then face the Springboks in their third Pool B encounter on September 23 before Wales take on Australia in Lyon the following day in Pool C.

The pool phase will also see Italy lock horns with New Zealand on September 29 in Lyon before colliding with Guinness Six Nations rivals France at the same venue on October 6.

Two more Championship rivals will also do battle in the final round of the pool phase when Scotland and Ireland go head-to-head in Pool B in Saint-Denis.

Marseille (Stade Vélodrome) and Paris (Stade de France) will host the quarter-finals on 14-15 October while the Stade de France will also host the two semi-finals.

The 80,000 capacity Stade de France then hosts the bronze final on Friday, 27 October and will set the scene for the Rugby World Cup 2023 champions to be crowned on Saturday, 28 October.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The match schedule announcement is the moment when the tournament truly comes alive for fans all around the world and is an exciting milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup France 2023.

“It has been developed with teams and fans at heart and we are confident it will provide the best possible platform for a thrilling, historic and very special Rugby World Cup in the sport’s 200th year.

“I would like to thank our friends at the France 2023 Organising Committee for their efforts in building the most fair and equitable RWC match schedule ever. I know I speak for fans around the world when I say that 2023 cannot come fast enough!”

Rugby World Cup 2023 will be a truly nationwide tournament involving all of France, with each host city holding a minimum of four games and welcoming at least one RWC 2019 quarter-finalist.

For the first time in the tournament’s history, the 10th edition will also see all teams have a minimum of five rest days between all matches and an increased squad size of 33 players.

Pivac preparing for World Cup as Wales set to meet familiar foes

World Rugby Vice-Chairman Bernard Laporte added: “The match schedule announcement is a wonderful moment for all Rugby World Cup 2023’s stakeholders.

“It has everything: the world’s 20 best teams, 48 games and 51 days of celebration. Designed with players and fans at heart, this match schedule will delight all rugby lovers around the world.

“We have given each host city the opportunity to shine with thrilling fixtures happening all over France. We look forward to 2023!”