Zoom on the Rugby World Cup France 2023

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France is fortunate to have hosted several of the world’s most prestigious global events. As the Tour de France ends in style and the country gears up towards the Olympic Games 2024, while supporting Les Bleues at the Woman's Football world cup, we are preparing for the next big sport event, the Rugby Union World Cup.

This year will be the third time France is hosting the Rugby World Cup. The home of Les Tricolores has previously hosted the 2007 Rugby World Cup and the 1991 Rugby World Cup as joint hosts (with England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales). Here's the link to view all matches on the official France 2023 Rugby world cup.

The Teams, Who's Hot & Who's Not

The Rugby World 2023 starts on the 8th of September, it consists of 4 pools with 5 teams in each, a total of 20 nations competing for the coveted title of Champion du Monde.

  • Pool A consists of New Zealand, France, Italy, Uruguay and Namibia
  • Pool B consists of South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga and Romania
  • Pool C consists of Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal
  • Pool D consists of England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa and Chile

The defending champions are South Africa who beat England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup Final. Ireland ranked 1st in the world are a hot favourite, as well as New Zealand, they always are! At the other end, Chile will make their first appearance at the Rugby World Cup. It could be argued that England has pulled one of the easiest group with Japan, Argentina's Pumas and Chile.

Countries attending the World Cup are featured on the official website, along with their ranking. For detailed information about each national team, visit your specific national rugby website. For the France senior men’s team it's L'Equipe de France. It's interesting to see France, the host nation, ranked 3rd, and England 6th, behind Scotland 5th. This is already shaping up to be a rugby feast.

48 Matches in 51 days & 9 Venues

The world cup kicks off the same week most kids return to school, on the 8th September at 9PM local time in Paris, that's 8PM GMT for the UK. In total, there will be 48 matches played across 51 days in the nine following venues and stadia. Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne (central France), Stade de Bordeaux, Stade de France, Saint-Denis, near Paris, Stade de Marseille, Stadium de Toulouse, Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, Stade de Nice, Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes and the OL Stadium in Lyon. Learn about each of them in more details.

Rugby World Cup Finals

From Saturday 14th October, the competition progresses to the next stage, knockouts. From this date all games are played in either Marseille or Stade de France in Paris. The semi-final will take place a week later, on Saturday 21st October at 9PM French time (8PM GMT). And the final will take place on Saturday 28th October, again at 9PM local time. Save the dates!

Is Home Advantage a Thing?

We were in France when the French football team won the world cup in 1998, the atmosphere and support were amazing. Les Bleus might feel extra pressure to perform well in front of their home fans, friends, and families. But the growing support of trumpet blowing, drum banging and Marseillaise chants will no doubt propagate onto the pitch and the players.

We've found an interesting piece of research from Mr Martin Turner at Manchester University that suggests that proves the theory of home advantage. The excerpt from this article states that "research has found that there was an overall statistically significant home advantage of 61% for 120 matches played in the Six Nations Rugby Union tournament (2000-07). Evidence supported a home advantage amongst all competing nations, regardless of the team's quality."

A Promising & Tasty Opener

France will be entering the competition full of confidence after a decent string of results, a rejuvenated team and approach, better organised in defence, conceding less penalties while making the most of penalties gained with a high conversion return rate. The first game of the tournament will follow the opening ceremony at the iconic Stade de France in Paris. The hosts will face the mighty New Zealand for the first time since les Bleus beat the Kiwis in the autumn of 2021. As well as a guaranteed beastly haka, this opener has all the ingredients for a potential classic recipe!

Find a Base, and a Nice Pub

If you are a rugby fan and support your national team, this is a rare opportunity to travel to one of the most beautiful countries, while following your team. The French team will be based near Lille, where England will also be playing a couple of their early games. The "bigger" and final games will take part in Paris and Marseille in the south of the country. Unless you already have tickets purchased in advance, it's going to be near impossible to attend any of the games, but you can get close to the experience in the various "rugby villages".

Instead, we suggest you find a "base" in an area that you like, or where rugby is popular, for example in southwest France. In September it should be easier to find cheaper accommodation in the usually packed and in demand areas. There may be giant screens in some towns and cities, and some bars will be supporting the event. For example, in Lyon, check out Paddys Corner, or House of Parliament if you are in Bordeaux. There are many other English, Irish and Scottish pubs scattered around the country, they're always fun and great hosts, please support them.
In Paris, the Aulde Allianceis a must see  for Scots and French fans alike. Staying in Paris, check the following bars: Le Bistrot de l’Ovalie (12 Rue Antoine Bourdelle), Le Rugby (51 Avenue du Docteur Arnold Netter) and Le Comptoir Rugby Bar (354 Rue de Vaugirard) all rugby themed and who broadcast rugby games.

How to get Rugby World Cup Tickets?

We've been told that tickets have been very hard to get hold of as all were sold very quickly. A few friends managed to get their hands on some tickets, we're envious and look forward to seeing the images. There are ticket allocations country per country, and we'd expect tickets to become available in the later stages, but you'll need to be ready, and a little lucky. Avoid touts and dodgy websites, keep an eye on the France 2023 official website and their social media accounts.

As an appetizer and ‘mise en bouche’, here's the France 2023 official video, to get you in the mood, it’s not long to go now. Finally, for the League fans, here’s the link to the International page on the Rugby League website and the website for the French XIII League.

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