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Rugby World Cup 2023

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The 2023 Rugby World Cup will take place in France, and be the 10th edition of the tournament, and kicks off on 8th September, continuing through until the final in Paris on the 28th October. 

South Africa are the defending champions, following their 2019 victory in Japan, however, fellow Southern Hemisphere nations Australia and New Zealand will join Northern Hemisphere powerhouses such as England, Ireland, France, Wales and Scotland in attempts to prevent the Springboks winning again.

The tournament will take place in the year of the 200th anniversary of the creation of rugby by William Webb Ellis.

Originally, RWC 2023 was scheduled to last the typical six weeks, however World Rugby announced an additional week to accommodate the additional rest day requirement for player-welfare. This means that teams will have a minimum of five rest days for all matches, optimising recovery and preparation for the tournament.

A total of three official bids were entered to host the tournament, with France winning ahead of South Africa and Ireland.

The opening match of the 2023 Rugby World Cup will take place at the Stade de France in Paris, with the final held in the same stadium. These venues were announced in March 2017, with games to be held in nice different stadiums.

The pool draw took place on 14 December 2020, returning to its usual spot of just after the November internationals.

The seeding system from previous Rugby World Cups was retained with the 12 automatic qualifiers from 2019 being allocated to their respective bands based on their World Rugby Rankings on the day of the draw.

This meant the 20 teams, qualified and qualifiers, were seeded thus (World Ranking as of 10 May 2017):

Band 1: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales
Band 2: Ireland, Australia, France, Japan
Band 3: Scotland, Argentina, Fiji, Italy
Band 4: Samoa, Europe 1, Uruguay, Asia/Pacific 1
Band 5:  Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Final Qualifier Winner

The draw resulted in the following fixtures in each pool:

Pool A Fixtures

8 September France v New Zealand
9 September Italy v Africa 1
14 September France v Uruguay
15 September New Zealand v Africa 1
20 September Italy v Uruguay
21 September France v Africa 1
27 September Uruguay v Africa 1
29 September New Zealand v Italy
5 October New Zealand v Uruguay
6 October France v Italy

Pool B Fixtures

9 September Ireland v Europe 2
10 September South Africa v Scotland
16 September Ireland v Asia/Pacific 1
17 September South Africa v Europe 2
23 September South Africa v Ireland
24 September Scotland v Asia/Pacific 1
30 September Scotland v Europe 2
1 October South Africa v Asia/Pacific 1
7 October Ireland v Scotland
8 October Asia/Pacific 1 v Europe 2

Pool C Fixtures

9 September Australia v Europe 1
10 September Wales v Fiji
16 September Wales v Final Qualifier Winner
17 September Australia v Fiji
23 September Europe 1 v Final Qualifier Winner
24 September Wales v Australia
30 September Fiji v Europe 1
1 October Australia v Final Qualifier Winner
7 October Wales v Europe 1
8 October Fiji v Final Qualifier Winner

Pool D Fixtures

9 September England v Argentina
10 September Japan v Americas 2
16 September Samoa v Americas 2
17 September England v Japan
22 September Argentina v Samoa
23 September England v Americas 2
28 September Japan v Samoa
30 September Argentina v Americas 2
7 October England v Samoa
8 October Japan v Argentina

The Webb Ellis Cup, which the 20 nations will play for, is named after William Webb Elllis, the man who - according to rugby folklore - picked up a football and ran with it, so creating the game of rugby we all love. 

First XV will stock official RWC 2023 branded merchandise, replica rugby shirts, rugby balls, training kit and leisurewear from the competing nations, as South Africa look to pick up the Webb Ellis Cup for the fourth time. 

Kick-off your Rugby World Cup 2023 journey now with official merchandise from