Hosts France To Face New Zealand In Blockbuster RWC 2023 Opening Match
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World Rugby and the France 2023 Organising Committee have announced the much-anticipated match schedule for Rugby World Cup 2023.
The expanded eight-week festival could not get off to a bigger start with hosts France and three-time champions New Zealand meeting in the opening match on 8 September 2023, to kick-off the sport’s 200th birthday celebrations in style.
One highlight of a spectacular opening weekend is a double-header in Marseille, a fan-favourite at the 2007 tournament. RWC 2019 runners-up England will launch their Pool D campaign against Argentina on the first Saturday, while reigning champions South Africa will start their title defence against Scotland the following day, offering fans two world-class fixtures in one location over an epic late September weekend in the south of France.
A streamlined nine host cities will play host to the world’s top 20 teams with the top two from each pool progressing to the quarter-finals. In typical style, the pool phase concludes with an epic weekend of matches with Six Nations rivals Scotland and Ireland going head-to-head in Saint-Denis and fan-favourites Japan facing Argentina in Nantes.
Marseille (Stade Vélodrome) and Saint-Denis (Stade de France) will host the quarter-finals on 14-15 October. The 80,000 capacity national symbol of Stade de France will also host the two semi-finals on Friday 20 and Saturday, 21 October, the bronze final on Friday, 27 October and will set the scene for the Rugby World Cup 2023 champions to be crowned on Saturday, 28 October.
All matches will be organised between Wednesday and Sunday to maximise fan attendance and broadcast engagement and seven double-header weekends will translate into a festival atmosphere in the host cities
Kick-off times for all 48 fixtures will be confirmed in due course.