Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
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Article written by Elisa - Travel Writer & Local in France
Here’s the Ultimate RWC 2023 Guide!
Crouch, bind, and get set for another season of epic rugby ahead! All eyes are on France as they host the Rugby World Cup 2023 for a whopping third time and are dead set on making it one of the best tournaments in history.
The Rugby World Cup 2023 will take place from 8 September to 28 October 2023. The tournament will kick off on Friday, 8 September 2023, with the opening match held in Paris – Saint-Denis at the Stade de France. The France Rugby World Cup 2023 Final will also take place at the Stade de France on 28 October 2023.
France’s RWC 2023 is expected to be a nail-biting seven weeks as there has been a surprising power shift with usual favorites like Australia and New Zealand falling down the rankings. This means a new era is dawning for rugby as European teams take the lead, with Ireland and France holding the coveted top spots.
If you are looking to get in on the action, whether you have tickets or not, let’s take a closer look at what the France Rugby World Cup 2023 has in store.
This Rugby World Cup guide covers everything, from the qualified teams and their base camps to the locations of the Rugby World Cup 2023 matches and schedule, so you can get the most out of the Rugby World Cup France 2023.
Table of Contents:
- 2023 Rugby World Cup Locations (Host Cities)
- Rugby World Cup 2023 – Teams Qualified
- World Cup Rugby 2023 Preparation (Team Base Camps)
- France Rugby World Cup Schedule
- Rugby World Cup Fan Zones 2023
2023 Rugby World Cup Locations (Host Cities)
France will showcase its rich cultural heritage and love for rugby by hosting matches in various captivating cities across the country. Thanks to an excellent transportation network of trains and buses and several airports nationwide, you should have no problem hopping between cities to see your favorite squads in action. Here is a rundown of the 2023 Rugby World Cup host cities and what you can expect from each:
2023 Rugby World Cup Bordeaux
The capital of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, Bordeaux, is located in southwest France, and you probably already know this name thanks to its UNESCO-listed city center and world-class wines.
Rugby World Cup 2023 matches will take place at the brand-spanking new Stade de Bordeaux (Matmut Atlantique), the largest sports arena in southwest France. This Stadium is square-shaped, an interesting departure for stadium architecture, and is located on Cours Jules Ladoumegue. Combining rugby matches with wine tastings in Saint-Emilion or along the Route des Châteaux in Médoc sounds like a good plan for your France Rugby World Cup trip.
2023 Rugby World Cup Marseille
Situated on the Mediterranean coast, where the sun shines 300 days a year, Marseille is a stunning port city and the main getaway to Provence. Marseille is rough, loud, proud, and rebellious but also unique and – above all – Mediterranean.
Matches of this World Cup Rugby 2023 – and two of the quarter-finals – will be held at the Orange Vélodrome, a renowned stadium in the heart of the city on Boulevard Michelet. Balance your trip between thundering evenings in the stands and lazy days by the sea with a glass of pastis for an unforgettable experience.
2023 Rugby World Cup Lille
Located in the region of Hauts-de-France, near the border with Belgium, Lille is a bustling city known for its Flemish architecture and deep cultural heritage.
The Pierre-Mauroy Stadium will serve as the venue for RWC France matches in Lille, and thanks to its retractable roof, it is the perfect location given the region’s fickle weather. You will find the Stadium on Boulevard de Tournai in the Eastern outskirts of the city, but thanks to its efficient train system, you can be in the historic Old Town for a beer and welsh faster than a Joe Rokocoko 100m.
2023 Rugby World Cup Lyon
You can be ready to eat your heart out in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, where Lyon proudly boasts a reputation for being a gastronomic paradise and a city of great historical significance in France.
Rugby enthusiasts can witness matches at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais, a state-of-the-art stadium on Avenue Simone Veil in Eastern Lyon, where several notable matches have taken place over the years. If, in addition to the rugby matches, you can add a Lyon bike tour or a Rhône Valley wine tour with tastings, then it’s heaven.
2023 Rugby World Cup Saint-Étienne
Situated in the heart of the Massif Central region and just outside Lyon, Saint-Étienne is known for its industrial heritage contrasted by picturesque landscapes. It is even listed as a UNESCO City of Creative Design, which is seemingly worlds apart from the rugged nature of rugby.
But even on the walk to the stadium, you will be treated to artful installations all around, helping to solidify the city’s unique atmosphere. Stade Geoffroy-Guichard will be the venue for the 2023 Rugby World Cup matches in Saint-Etienne, and it is conveniently located on Rue Paul and Pierre Guichard in the north of the city.
2023 Rugby World Cup Nice
As the capital of the French Riviera, this idyllic city entices visitors with its azure waters, vibrant markets, and charming Old Town. Nice needs no introduction, and it will be interesting to see it transform from a billionaire’s playground to a rugby outpost this coming season.
Rugby World Cup 2023 matches will take place at the Allianz Riviera-Nice Stadium, a modern venue located on the banks of the Var River on Boulevard des Jardiniers. Combine rugby matches with a couple of day trips from Nice for the perfect RWC France trip.
Check out how to get to Nice from Paris, other cities in France and abroad, see Nice’s must-visit attractions, and locate the best places to stay (ideally with a pool for the warmest hours of the day!).
2023 Rugby World Cup Nantes
Located in Western France on the Loire River, Nantes is renowned for its medieval château, quirky Machines de l’Ile, and thriving cultural scene.
Rugby World Cup matches will be held at the Stade de la Beaujoire, in Northern Nantes, on Route de Saint-Joseph. If you travel by car, you can add a couple of Castles of the Loire Valley to your RWC 2023 trip.
2023 Rugby World Cup Toulouse
The “Pink City” and capital of the Occitanie region, Toulouse is best known in the rugby world for its fierce union team, Stade Toulousain.
Rugby matches will be held at the Stadium de Toulouse located on Allée Gabriel Biénès, an island formed by the Garonne River.
2023 Rugby World Cup Paris – Saint-Denis
The opening, quarter-finals, and Rugby World Cup final 2023 will take place at the Stade de France, located in the Northern suburb of Saint-Denis, Paris. As an 80,000-seater arena, it is the largest in the country and is well connected with railways within the city.
While in Paris, visitors can also explore the city’s renowned landmarks, which obviously need no introduction, and immerse themselves in its rich culture. Nothing wrong with a little Moulin Rouge and rugby weekend!
Rugby World Cup 2023 – Teams Qualified
The qualified teams for the France 2023 Rugby World Cup will be organized into four pools, each containing five teams. Here’s a glimpse of the Rugby World Cup Teams 2023 competing in each pool, along with a brief description:
New Zealand (#3): The All Blacks are known for their aggressive style of play, fear-inducing haka, and a long-standing legacy of success in the Rugby World Cup. The Kiwis have had a few struggles in the 2022 Rugby Championship, and they will have to polish up on their end game if they want to see this one through.
France (#2): Les Bleus are yet to hold the Webb Ellis Cup after three visits to the final, but the French are hopeful that this could be their year. As the host nation, France will have the support of their passionate home crowd, which might give them the advantage they need.
Italy (#14): The Azzurri have made significant strides in recent years and will be eager to challenge the established rugby powerhouses in their pool. Their opening match against Namibia should be an easy entry into the tournament, helping them get a head start.
Uruguay (#17): More competent on the football field than the rugby field, Uruguay is hoping to make it to third place in Pool A to secure automatic qualification into the next tournament. They are steadily becoming a well-rounded team, helping to put the Americas on the rugby map.
Namibia (#21): The only other African team in the Rugby World Cup 2023 France, is also currently the second lowest-ranked in the tournament. They have yet to win a match at this level, but this spirited team always shows up and brings their all.
South Africa (#4): Defending champions, the Springboks, have had their fair share of ups and downs in the last four years, but seasoned coach Rassie Erasmus has put together a fearsome squad that is ready to take on top contender in their pool, Ireland. The Boks are aiming to dominate through brut strength, a tactic that has served them well in the past.
Ireland (#1): Ireland has become one of the most feared competitors on the field in recent months. Their impenetrable defensive line sweeps through and tires out their opponents, while their impeccable handling helps them secure a win time and time again. All eyes are on Ireland this year, but the unfortunate pool draws might count against them in later stages.
Scotland (#5): When they swap their kilts for cleats, Scotland becomes a dark horse on the field. They consistently deliver stiff competition, playing a fast and hard game, but this might be the second time that they fail to make it past the knockout rounds.
Tonga (#15): Tonga is the lowest-ranked Pacific Island nation in the tournament, but they have been known to secure an unexpected win every so often. Their unwavering spirit brings an electrical performance to the field with 90 minutes of strong defense, bringing their opponents to their knees in the heat of the moment.
Romania (#19): Romania is one of the stronger teams in the Rugby Europe Championship, and they have previously been able to beat France, Wales, Scotland, and Italy. They may not progress past the pool rounds in the RWC 2023, but they always serve up a challenge nonetheless.
Wales (#9): Wales is a force to be reckoned with, and their favorable pool could mean an easy top spot in the knockout rounds. They have made multiple trips to the quarter and semi-finals but are yet to take home the trophy.
Australia (#7): After dominating the game for years, the Wallabies have struggled to climb up the ranks this season. With two RWC wins under their belt, Australia comes with a fierce reputation thanks to their tactical play but struggles at the grassroots level have had a major impact on their international performances.
Fiji (#13): Fiji has been able to secure several wins over top-tier nations, and their seasoned team and heavy forward pack could serve them well. They will have their work cut out for them as they debut against Wales, but the rest of their pool could be quite evenly matched.
Georgia (#11): Georgian rugby has been on the rise, and the team constantly delivers impressive results. Their game is brutal, fearless, and unrefined, an accidental tactic that keeps their opponents guessing.
Portugal (#16): This will only be the second appearance for Portugal at the RWC, but they could secure a few wins in the knockout stages as they are quite equally matched. The team has been able to narrow its loss margins and tighten up its game in recent years.
England (#6): The Roses are the only team from the Northern Hemisphere to have won the Webb Ellis Cup and are hungry for another win. It seems unlikely after a fourth-place rank in the Six Nations, but they will most likely dominate their pool and secure a win over Australia in the quarter-finals, an easy enough road to the semis.
Japan (#10): Amongst all the Rugby World Cup 2023 teams, Japan is the only Asian team and has become a major disrupting force after their shock win over South Africa in 2015. The previous RWC hosts are not to be taken lightly and bring great skill and tactic, delivering a highly polished performance.
Argentina (#8): The Pumas are continuing to impress on the international stage with a third-place finish at the 2007 RWC. Players hone their skills at international clubs and come together for strong performances in international tournaments like the Rugby Championship and RWC.
Samoa (#12): Samoa is another Pacific Island team that has regularly secured impressive wins over top-tier nations, no doubt thanks to their brutish physique and intimidating force. They will serve up some stiff competition for second place in Pool D.
Chile (#22): Chile caused quite an upset when they beat out the USA to qualify for the France Rugby World Cup 2023 and enter the tournament as the lowest-ranking team. That being said, they are setting their sights on small wins, helping to foster a love for the sport in a typically under-represented continent.
World Cup Rugby 2023 Preparation (Team Base Camps)
Every participating team in the Rugby World Cup France will have a designated base camp city where they can train and prepare for the competition. These RWC 2023 base camps are spread across nine different regions in France and are chosen based on their available facilities and transportation efficiency for teams.
These Team Base Camps RWC France provide an excellent opportunity for rugby fans to catch a glimpse of their favorite teams in action, especially for those who couldn’t secure tickets to the matches. These cities will allow all fans to feel the infectious spirit of the tournament and engage in ways they previously thought impossible.
Here are the different Team Base Camps for each of the Rugby World Cup 2023 teams:
New Zealand: Lyon (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
France: Rueil-Malmaison (Ile-de-France)
Italy: Bourgoin-Jallieu (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
Uruguay: Avignon (Provence)
Namibia: Aix les Bains (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
South Africa: Toulon (Région Sud)
Ireland: Tours (Centre-Val de Loire)
Scotland: Nice (Région Sud)
Tonga: Croissy sur Seine (Ile-de-France)
Romania: Libourne (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Wales: Versailles (Ile-de-France)
Australia: Saint-Étienne (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes)
Fiji: Bordeaux (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Georgia: La Rochelle – Ile de Ré (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
Portugal: Perpignan (Occitanie)
England: Le Touquet-Paris-Plage (Hauts-de-France)
Japan: Toulouse (Occitanie)
Argentina: La Baule-Escoublac (Pays de la Loire)
Samoa: Montpellier (Occitanie)
Chile: Perros-Guirec (Bretagne)
France Rugby World Cup Schedule
The 2023 Rugby World Cup will kick off on Friday, 8 September 2023, with the opening match held in Paris – Saint-Denis at the Stade de France. This clash of the titans, France and New Zealand, is set to be one for the books.
Then, the Rugby World Cup 2023 schedule will run for seven weeks because games are played over the weekends.
The Rugby World Cup Quarter-Finals 2023 will be on Saturday 14 October, and Sunday 15 October 2023, in Marseille and Paris.
The Rugby World Cup 2023 dates for the Finals are 20, 21, and 27 October 2023 in Paris. The France Rugby World Cup 2023 Final will also take place at the Stade de France on 28 October 2023, and early predictions show that the host nation, New Zealand and Ireland, are favorites to make it that far. Here are the full fixtures for the tournament:
RUGBY WORLD CUP PARIS 2023 DATES: Friday 8 September 2023 (opening match); Saturday 7 October 2023 (pool match); Saturday 14 October 2023 and Sunday 15 October 2023 (quarter-finals); Friday 20 October 2023 and Saturday 21 October 2023 (semi-finals); Friday 27 October 2023 (third place match); Saturday 28 October 2023 (Rugby World Cup 2023 Final).
Friday 8 September 2023
- France v New Zealand – Pool A . Stade de France, Paris, 8.15 pm
Saturday 9 September 2023
- Italy v Namibia – Pool A. Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne, 12pm
- Ireland v Romania – Pool B. Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 2.30pm
- Australia v Georgia – Pool C. Stade de France, Paris, 5pm
- England v Argentina – Pool D. Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, 8pm
Sunday 10 September 2023
- Japan v Chile – Pool D. Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse, 12 pm
- South Africa v Scotland – Pool B. Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, 4.45 pm
- Wales v Fiji – Pool C. Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 8 pm
Thursday 14 September 2023
- France v Uruguay – Pool A. Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, 8 pm
Friday 15 September 2023
- New Zealand v Namibia – Pool A. Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse, 8 pm
Saturday 16 September 2023
- Samoa v Chile – Pool D. Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 2 pm
- Wales v Portugal – Pool C. Stade de Nice, Nice, 4.45 pm
- Ireland v Tonga – Pool B. Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, 8pm
Sunday 17 September 2023
- South Africa v Romania – Pool B. Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 2 pm
- Australia v Fiji – Pool C. Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne, 4.45pm
- England v Japan – Pool D. Stade de Nice, Nice, 8 pm
Wednesday 20 September 2023
- Italy v Uruguay – Pool A. Stade de Nice, Nice, 4.45 pm
Thursday 21 September 2023
- France v Namibia – Pool A. Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, 8 pm
Friday 22 September 2023
- Argentina v Samoa – Pool D. Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne, 4.45 pm
Saturday 23 September 2023
- Georgia v Portugal – Pool C. Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse,1 pm
- England v Chile – Pool D. Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, 4.45 pm
- South Africa v Ireland – Pool B. Stade de France, Paris, 8 pm
Sunday 24 September 2023
- Scotland v Tonga – Pool B. Stade de Nice, Nice, 4.45 pm
- Wales v Australia – Pool C. Parc OL, Lyon, 8 pm
Wednesday 27 September 2023
- Uruguay v Namibia – Pool A. Parc OL, Lyon, 4.45 pm
Thursday 28 September 2023
- Japan v Samoa – Pool D. Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse, 8 pm
Friday 29 September 2023
- New Zealand v Italy – Pool A. Parc OL, Lyon, 8 pm
Saturday 30 September 2023
- Argentina v Chile – Pool D. Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, 2 pm
- Fiji v Georgia – Pool C. Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, 4.45 pm
- Scotland v Romania – Pool B. Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, 8 pm
Sunday 1 October 2023
- Australia v Portugal – Pool C. Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne, 4.45 pm
- South Africa v Tonga – Pool B. Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, 8 pm
Thursday 5 October 2023
- New Zealand v Uruguay – Pool A. Parc OL, Lyon, 8 pm
Friday 6 October 2023
- France v Italy – Pool A. Parc OL, Lyon, 8 pm
Saturday 7 October 2023
- Wales v Georgia – Pool C. Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, 2 pm
- England v Samoa – Pool D. Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, 4.45 pm
- Ireland v Scotland – Pool B. Stade de France, Paris, 8 pm
Sunday 8 October 2023
- Japan v Argentina – Pool D. Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes, 12 pm
- Tonga v Romania – Pool B. Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille, 4.45 pm
- Fiji v Portugal – Pool C. Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse, 8 pm
Quarter-finals: Saturday 14 October 2023
- Wales v Argentina – Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, 5 pm
- Ireland v New Zealand – Stade de France, Paris, 9 pm
Quarter-finals: Sunday 15 October 2023
- England v Fiji – Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, 5 pm
- France v Republic of South Africa – Stade de France, Paris, 9 pm
Friday 20 October 2023: Semi-final 1
- Winner Quarter-final 1 v Winner Quarter-final 2 – Stade de France, Paris, 8 pm
Saturday 21 October 2023: Semi-Final 2
- Winner Quarter-final 3 v Winner Quarter-final 4 – Stade de France, Paris 8 pm
Friday 27 October 2023: Third Place Match
- Runner-up semi-final 1 v runner-up semi-final 2 – Stade de France, Paris, 8 pm
Saturday 28 October 2023: Rugby World Cup 2023 Final
- Rugby World Cup 2023 Final – Stade de France, Paris, 8 pm
Rugby World Cup Fan Zones 2023
Dedicated fan zones – named Villages Rugby – will be set up throughout the Rugby World Cup host cities to create a vibrant atmosphere and bring fans together. These fan zones Rugby World Cup 2023 will be free to enter and will offer live screenings of matches, entertainment, food, and a place for fans to celebrate the tournament’s spirit. They will also have an official Rugby World Cup 2023 store where fans can buy souvenirs and merchandise.
Paris Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The fan zone Paris 2023 is located at Place de la Concorde (Paris 8) next to the Luxor Obelisk at the bottom of the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. There will be 25 matches screened between 8 September and 28 October. Around 10,000 spectators will be able to back their boys at this open-air rugby fan zone Paris. In addition to the giant screens broadcasting the matches, there will be areas for food, drinks, and rugby-related activities.
If you prefer to watch the matches in a more classic atmosphere, head to one of the best sports bars in Paris.
Paris – The Saint-Denis fan zone is located at Place Victor Hugo, at the foot of Saint-Denis’ Basilica. It will show all 48 matches between 8 September and 28 October.
Bordeaux Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Rugby World Cup Bordeaux fan zone is located in Parc des Sports Saint-Michel, next to the river near Pont de Pierre bridge, and has a capacity for 10,000 people. There will be 37 matches screened between 8 September and 28 October.
Marseille Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Marseille Rugby World Cup fan zone will be located at the Cannebière, on the Vieux-Port side.
According to the latest news, there won’t be giant screens to broadcast the matches live at the Vieux-Port. The giant screens will be at Escale Borely (Marseille 8), where a group of traders decided to join forces and set up their own “Marseille RWC fan zone.” A few steps from the Stade Vélodrome, two giant screens will be installed to follow the matches. Between these two screens, a large bar and restaurants will be installed. A beach rugby pitch will also be set up behind the famous Ferris wheel.
Lille Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Lille Rugby World Cup fan zone is located in the heart of the city at Place du Général de Gaulle (Grand’ Place). Unlike other Rugby Villages, the Lille RWC fan zone will not have a big screen to broadcast the matches live. It will have a space dedicated to animations and rugby practice, where fans can participate in various activities and challenges related to the sport.
Almost all the bars around the Grand’ Place will be showing the matches, so you can easily find a spot to cheer for your favorite team.
Nice Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Nice Rugby World Cup fan zone is located in Albert Ier Garden next to the beach. There are 16 game days in Nice between 8 September and 28 October.
The Nice RWC fan zone has a capacity of 9,000 people and is divided into three areas: a relaxation area, another reserved for catering with several stands to discover the local specialties, and a third area for the broadcasting of the matches played at the Allianz Riviera in Nice, but also the semi-finals and the final.
Lyon Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Lyon Rugby World Cup fan zone, with a capacity of 5,000 people, is located in the heart of Place Bellecour, in Lyon’s 2nd district. It is just across the river from the Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste and will be open for 20 days between 23 September and 28 October.
In addition to this Lyon RWC fan zone, and depending on the results of the French team, the matches will be broadcast in Gerland in the Palais des Sports. The place, with a capacity of 7,000 people, will also be accessible free of charge. A reservation platform will be set up before each match if the French team qualifies.
Nantes Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Nantes Rugby World Cup fan zone is located at the Parc des Chantiers on the Ile de Nantes. There will be 11 match screenings between 8 September and 8 October. This Nantes RWC fan zone will have a capacity of 10,000 people, and there will be food stalls, different entertainments, and the rugby matches broadcast on giant screens.
Toulouse Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
The Toulouse Rugby World Cup fan zone will be located at the Prairie des Filtres, right next to the Garonne and Pont Neuf Bridge. With a capacity of 40,000 people, it will be the largest of the Rugby World Cup fan zones in France and will screen 18 games between 8 September and 28 October.
Saint-Etienne Rugby World Cup Fan Zone
Saint-Etienne’s fan zone is located a 20-minute walk from the city center at Parc François Mitterrand. Fan walks will be installed from the center on each of the 12 match days between 8 September and 1 October.
The World Cup Rugby 2023 in France promises to be an extraordinary event that showcases the pinnacle of rugby talent and passion. France is a seasoned sporting host nation, and thanks to its prime location in Europe, it could see record-breaking attendance numbers.
Whether you’re a seasoned rugby enthusiast or a casual spectator, mark your calendars and get ready for an unforgettable spectacle this September!