The eyes of the world will be on France in September and October this year as they host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Twenty teams will battle it out over six weeks to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy, and nine Rugby World Cup stadiums are set to be used across France.
With its rich rugby history and home advantage, France will aim to lift the Rugby World Cup for the first time, but they face a battle against the top teams in the world, including Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the current holders, South Africa.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup Stadiums
This section looks closely at all nine venues hosting matches at this year’s tournament, offering an in-depth look at the 2023 Rugby World Cup stadiums.
Stade de France, Saint-Denis (Capacity – 80,023)
The Stade de France, built for the World Cup in 1998, is France’s national stadium and also the home of its rugby team. In February 1998, Les Bleus played their first match in Saint-Denis, an ultra modern venue, beating England 24-17
The iconic stadium has hosted 97 men’s test matches, including the 1999 Rugby World Cup quarter finals and 2007 final. So, it’s no surprise that it is one of the most popular Rugby World Cup stadiums.
South Africa claimed victory in both matches, and the Springboks will return to the Stade de France on September 23 to take on Ireland – the first time the nations have clashed at a Rugby World Cup.
The Stade de France will host ten matches during the Rugby World Cup 2023, including the highly anticipated opening match between the All Blacks and Les Bleus, both semi finals, the third-place playoff, and the final.
Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux (Capacity – 42,060)
Stade de Bordeaux, home to the city’s Ligue 1 football club, was opened in May 2015, just in time to host the semi finals of the Top 14 playoffs. So, it’s safe to say that lots of iconic matches took place here.
The venue welcomed rugby back in June 2019, with a record-breaking attendance of 42,071 fans who witnessed Toulouse take on La Rochelle in the Top 14 semi finals. Stade de Bordeaux has also hosted the French national football team, the Coupe de la Ligue final, and five matches during Euro 2016.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup will see the stadium host matches featuring Fiji, Ireland, Samoa, South Africa and Wales.
Stade Velodrome, Marseille (Capacity – 67,847)
The Stade Velodrome is a historic stadium that has undergone renovation three times since it opened in 1937, and during the 2007 Rugby World Cup, it hosted two quarter finals.
The stadium’s first rugby union test match was played in November 2000, when France defeated New Zealand 42-33. Since then, the French national team has played eleven tests at this legendary venue. They won nine and lost two times. Once to Argentina in 2004 and then to the All Blacks in five years later.
Home of Ligue 1 team Olympique de Marseille, the Stade Velodrome was also a host stadium for the World Cup in 1938 and 1998.
It will host four Rugby World Cup pool matches this time around, including England v Argentina and two quarter finals.
Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne (Capacity – 42,152)
The Stade Geoffroy-Guichard is the oldest of the host venues for this year’s Rugby World Cup. It was opened in September 1931 and has undergone three renovations ahead of its use in major football tournaments.
Les Bleus played their first rugby match there in November 2001, defeating Fiji 77-10, and six years later, the stadium hosted three 2007 Rugby World Cup 2007 pool matches, including two wins for Scotland.
In 2023, the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard will host four matches featuring Australia, Argentina, Fiji, Italy, and Samoa.
Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille (Capacity – 50,096)
The Stade Pierre-Mauroy was built as the home ground for Lille OSC and opened in August 2012 and quickly expanded its horizons to host its first rugby match just three months later, with France defeating Argentina 39-22.
Lille had previously hosted matches during the Rugby World Cup 1991, using the nearby Stade du Nord for the quarter final match between New Zealand and Canada.
Thanks to its innovative design, the Stade Pierre-Mauroy has hosted various events beyond football and rugby, including tennis, basketball and several high-profile music concerts.
Additionally, it was also a host venue for Euro 2016 matches.
The Stade Pierre-Mauroy is scheduled to host five 2023 Rugby World Cup pool matches featuring France, England, Scotland, and Samoa.
OL Stadium, Lyon (Capacity – 58,883)
The home of Olympique Lyonnais, the OL Stadium, opened in January 2016 and quickly became a popular venue for international events, including rugby. The stadium hosted the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals only four months after its opening. In addition, later that season, OL Stadium was chosen to host the Top 14 semi finals.
Lyon has a rich rugby heritage, with Stade de Gerland hosting matches during the 2007 Rugby World Cup and Lyon OU winning the French championship twice. In addition, the OL Stadium has played host to matches during Euro 2016 and the Women’s World Cup in 2019, as well as the Coupe de la Ligue final and the Europa League final.
The stadium is scheduled to host games featuring Australia, France, Italy, New Zealand, and Wales this time.
Stade de Nice, Nice (Capacity – 35,983)
The Stade de Nice, home to Ligue 1 team OGC Nice, is set to host four matches during the 2023 Rugby World Cup. The stadium, which also hosted games during Euro 2016 and the Women’s World Cup 2019, had its first and only rugby union test match in August 2019.
Then, France beat Scotland 32-3, while RC Toulonnais have also used the stadium for some of their Top 14 home matches. Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and Scotland are all scheduled to play games at the Stade de Nice during the tournament.
Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes (Capacity – 35,520)
The legendary Stade de la Beaujoire, home to Ligue 1 side FC Nantes, witnessed one of Rugby World Cup’s most memorable moments when Fiji beat Wales 38-34 in the 2007 tournament. In addition, the venue has staged seven test matches for Les Bleus, the last of which was a win over Fiji in 2010.
Having hosted matches during the Euro 1984 and the World Cup in 1998, the Stade de la Beaujoire is set to stage four games at Rugby World Cup 2023, including Japan v Argentina.
Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse (Capacity – 33,103)
The Stadium de Toulouse was initially constructed as a host venue for the World Cup in 1938. Since then, the France’s national stadium has hosted matches during the World Cup in 1998 and Euro 2016.
The venue has a rich rugby history and has served as the home stadium for Toulouse during Top 14, and European Champions Cup matches. France’s first rugby match at Stadium de Toulouse was in December 1963, against Romania, which ended in a 6-6 draw.
However, Les Bleus also recorded memorable victories against the All Blacks in 1977 and 1995 and against the Springboks in 2009. During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, the stadium hosted four matches involving the hosts, Fiji, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, and New Zealand.
And for the 2023 tournament, Fiji, Japan, and the All Blacks will play at the historic stadium.
This section covers some of the most frequently asked questions about the 2023 Rugby World Cup stadiums.
When talking about Rugby World Cup Stadiums, we can’t omit a mention of Twickenham, the biggest dedicated rugby stadium in the world. The stadium is the home of England and has a capacity of 82,000.
Nine Rugby World Cup stadiums will be used for the tournament – Stade de France, Stade de Bordeaux, Stade Vélodrome, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Stade Pierre Mauroy, OL Stadium, Stade de Nice, Stade de la Beaujoire, and Stadium de Toulouse.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup final will be held at the Stade de France on Saturday, October 28.
New Zealand will play their four pool matches at the Stade de France, OL Stadium, and Stadium de Toulouse.