The Rugby World Cup begins Friday, September 8 with a tantalizing France-New Zealand, which will be played at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (9:15 p.m., live on TF1). After seven weeks of competition, the World Cup final will be played in the same stadium on Saturday 28 October.
►Twenty teams divided into 4 pools
Twenty selections will compete in the World Cup. They are divided into five pools of four teams.
Pool A: France, New Zealand, Italy, Uruguay and Namibia.
Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga and Romania.
Pool C: Australia, Wales, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal.
Pool D: England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa and Chile
Rugby World Cup 2023: the complete schedule of matches
►A steep path for the Blues
The top two from each pool qualify for the quarter-finals. At this level of the competition, the winner of Pool A will meet the runner-up of Pool B and the runner-up of Pool A will play against the winner of Pool B. Therefore, if the French team qualifies, they should find on its way one of the two other big favorites for the world title: South Africa or Ireland.
►The Chileans, the only newcomers
Soccer nation Chile is the only team to take part in the Rugby World Cup finals for the first time. Trained by a Uruguayan, Pablo Lemoine, former pillar of the Stade Français, the Chileans qualified by eliminating during the qualifying phase the United States and Canada, two nations that were regulars at the event.
►Forty-eight games in seven weeks of competition
Forty-eight matches are scheduled between September 8 and October 28. Compared to the previous edition, the organizing committee and World Rugby, the international rugby union, have added an extra week to the tournament in order to allow all players to benefit from five days of rest between matches.
►Nine stadiums to host matches
The matches will be played in nine stadiums: the Matmut Atlantique in Bordeaux (42,000 seats); the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille (50,000 seats); the OL Stadium in Décines (58,000 seats); the Orange Vélodrome in Marseille (68,000 seats); the Beaujoire stadium in Nantes (35,500 seats); the Allianz Riviera in Nice (36,000 seats); the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (80,000 seats); the Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint-Étienne (42,000 seats); the Toulouse Stadium (43,000 seats).
►A budget of 800 million euros
Created in 1987, the Rugby World Cup is organized every four years and this is the second time that France is the host country, after the 2007 edition. It also hosted a few meetings in 1991 and 1999 when the event was organized by the British.
The turnover of this 10th World Cup should be around 800 million euros according to the Organizing Committee, with an expected profit of 45 to 50 million euros. Around 600,000 foreign visitors are expected across the country.
►The second final in France
The previous nine finals have been played in Auckland (New Zealand) in 1987, Twickenham, near London (England) in 1991, Johannesburg (South Africa) in 1995, Cardiff (Wales) in 1999, Sydney (Australia) in 2003, at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis in 2007, Auckland (New Zealand) in 2011, Twickenham (England) in 2015 and Tokyo (Japan) in 2019.
►Ten editions and four winners
Since the creation of the event in 1987, only four nations have entered their names on the list in ten editions: New Zealand (1987, 2011 and 2015), South Africa (1995, 2007 and 2019), Australia (1991 and 1999) and England, the only team from the Northern Hemisphere to be titled (2003). These four teams have participated in all editions, as has France.
►France, three times finalist, three times loser
The XV of France is the only selection to have reached the final of the World Cup without ever winning it. The French were unfortunate finalists in 1987 (against New Zealand), 1999 (against Australia) and 2011 (against New Zealand), a final every twelve years. France, which has always passed the first round, was also semi-finalist in 1995 and 2007, and quarter-finalist in 1991, 2015 and 2019.
►A trophy named in honor of William Webb Ellis
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) September 5, 2023
The World Cup winners’ trophy was named after William Webb Ellis, the supposed inventor of rugby. A pupil in the college of Rugby, in England, he would have laid the foundations of this new sport by seizing a ball with his hands to run with, in 1823, a day of a football match. Even if the veracity of this story remains disputed by historians, the legend has become like a founding act. Died in 1872 in Menton, he is buried in this commune of the Alpes-Maritimes.