The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be held in France from September 8 to October 28 and looks set to be a thrilling competition. Twenty teams will compete in the tournament, including defending champions South Africa who will face a tough challenge from New Zealand, England, Ireland, and Australia.
The tournament gets underway in a pool format, with the top two teams from each Rugby World Cup pool advancing to the quarter-finals. And with some huge clashes on the agenda, we’ve taken a closer look at the four 2023 Rugby World Cup pools
Rugby World Cup Pools
Twenty nations will be battling it out in this year’s Rugby World Cup, and they have been split into four pools of five, with the top two countries in each pool qualifying for the knockout stages.
The knockout stages will be played in a single-elimination format, with the winner of each match advancing to the next stage. The final will be played on October 28 at the Stade de France in Paris, and the winner of that match will be crowned the 2023 Rugby World Cup champion.
Below we’ve listed the four Rugby World Cup pools, and check out each country’s chances.
Rugby World Cup Pool A
New Zealand and France dominate Pool A, and the duo will likely be the top two finishers. Much will hinge on the tournament’s opening game when the host nation, France, faces the three-time RWC winners, the All Blacks.
New Zealand have a strong record against France, winning 48 Tests to France’s 13, with one match drawn, but with a partisan crowd in the Stade de France, France will be going all out for a winning start to the tournament.
Italy will likely be the best of the remaining three nations in Pool A, although Uruguay will target a win over the Azzurri in Nice on September 20. Namibia are the clear underdog in the pool, but they will be looking to cause an upset and make their presence felt.
Rugby World Cup Pool B
Pool B has been dubbed the ‘Pool of Death’ with South Africa, Ireland, and Scotland battling it out for just two quarter-final places.
South Africa are the reigning World Cup holders after defeating England in the 2019 final but will face tough challenges from Six Nations champions Ireland and a Scotland side that, on their day, are a match for any side in the world.
The Springboks face Scotland in their opening match, and a loss for either side would see them likely struggle to reach the knockout stages.
Tonga and Romania are the remaining two countries in Pool B – Tonga are a physical side that can cause problems for any team on their day, while Romania are a well-organised team who will be aiming to cause an upset.
Rugby World Cup Pool C
Pool C is likely to be a battle between Wales, Australia, and Fiji, with all three sides capable of taking points from each other. Wales are rebuilding and have lost many experienced players in 2023, while Australia is also looking to start afresh under boss Eddie Jones who has returned to the role, having led England to the RWC final in 2019.
The Wallabies are many people’s dark horses for the tournament, and a big showing in the pool stages will see them head into the knockout stages as strong contenders. They take on Wales in the opening game of the pool, and the result will be vital in deciding who will top the table.
Georgia and Portugal will likely struggle against the higher-ranked teams, but each will fancy their chances of defeating each other when they clash in Toulouse on September 23.
Rugby World Cup Pool D
Pool D has an intriguing lineup, with all of the teams having the potential to take points off each other, and it looks like the widest-open pool at this year’s Rugby World Cup. England have struggled recently and heads into the tournament under new boss Steve Borthwick, and Japan and Argentina will provide stern tests for the 2019 runners-up.
The opening game of the pool will be a mouth-watering clash between England and Japan, and it will be a good indication of which teams are the favourites to win the pool.
Samoa and RWC debutants Chile will also offer stern challenges and be keen to take points from the higher-ranked nations.
Rugby World Cup Last 8
The knockout stages in France will follow the same format as previous tournaments, with teams from Rugby World Cup pools A and B and pools C and D meeting in the quarter-finals. So Wales and England could meet in the last eight, for example.
- Quarter Final 1 – Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D
- Quarter Final 2 – Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A
- Quarter Final 3 – Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C
- Quarter Final 4 – Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B
The semi-finals will be the winners of Quarter Final 1 and Quarter Final 2 playing, and the winners of Quarter Final 3 taking on the winner of Quarter Final 4.
The 2023 Rugby World Cup is shaping up to be one of the most competitive tournaments in recent history. With so many talented teams and players competing, predicting who will lift the William Webb Ellis trophy this year is a tricky choice. However, one thing is sure – the tournament will be a feast of unmissable rugby union action.
The four Rugby World Cup pools have been drawn, and the tournament’s opening game will be a mouth-watering clash between the hosts, France, and the three-time world champions New Zealand. This will be a thrilling contest and set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
The knockout stages will be just as exciting, with the top two teams from the four Rugby World Cup pools progressing to the quarter-finals. From there, it will be a single-elimination format until the final on Saturday, October 28 2023, in the Stade de France in Paris.
Three-times Rugby World Cup winners New Zealand have been drawn in Pool A alongside France, Italy, Uruguay, and Namibia. The All Blacks will face France in the opening match of the tournament.
There are four Rugby World Cup pools, each containing five teams. The top two nations in each pool will qualify for the quarter-finals. The top three nations in each pool will automatically qualify for the 2027 Rugby World Cup.