Rugby World Cup 2023: 4 Pool Stage Matches to Watch

Rugby World Cup 2023: 4 Pool Stage Matches to Watch

One of the highlights of the 2023 sporting calendar is just around the corner, with the Rugby World Cup scheduled to start in France, in September.

The hosts are one of the favourites with online bookmakers to win the tournament, but several other teams have a genuine chance of lifting the prestigious trophy.

Twenty teams will participate in the opening phase, with the top two in each of the four groups qualifying for the quarter-finals. Here is the draw:

  • Pool A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Uruguay, Namibia.
  • Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Romania.
  • Pool C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Portugal.
  • Pool D: England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa, Chile.

With a host of intriguing matches lined up during the pool stage, we have selected one from each section that you simply cannot afford to miss.

France vs New Zealand – Pool A – September 8

The 2023 World Cup will get underway with a bang on September 8 as France and New Zealand go head-to-head at the Stade de France.

While both sides are expected to progress to the last eight, they will be eager to lay down an early marker in the tournament.

France have faced New Zealand on seven previous occasions at the Rugby World Cup, but have only recorded two victories.

The All Blacks racked up 14 consecutive wins over France before their 40-25 defeat in 2021 and will be eager to gain revenge this time around.

South Africa vs Ireland – Pool B – September 23

Ireland head into the tournament with plenty of expectation on their shoulders following their impressive performances in the Six Nations earlier this year.

The bookies rate them as joint-third favourites to win the Rugby World Cup and several respected pundits have tipped them to go a long way this autumn.

However, the top rugby betting sites in Ireland think they may find it extremely difficult to claim top spot in Pool B ahead of South Africa.

Their meeting on September 23 will likely determine who wins the group and is guaranteed to generate a flurry of activity on online sportsbooks.

Wales vs Australia – Pool C – September 24

Wales and Australia have become familiar foes at the Rugby World Cup having been drawn in the same group in four of the last five tournaments.

Their meetings include a thriller in Japan four years ago, when Wales triumphed 29-25 at the Tokyo Stadium on their way to topping the group.

The two sides have split their two international matches since then and will be eager to record a victory in their latest encounter.

Australia are rated as favourites to win Pool C and have been tipped as one of the dark horses to win the tournament for the third time.

With Fiji also set to line up in this group, the clash between Wales and Australia undoubtedly takes on added importance.

Japan v Argentina – Pool D – October 8

England are long odds-on to make progress from Pool D despite their poor showing in the Six Nations, but who will join them in the quarter-finals is less clear.

Argentina are expected to qualify alongside England, but they would be well-advised not to underestimate the threat posed by Japan.

Japan defied expectations to reach the last eight on home soil four years ago and will fancy their chances of upsetting the odds this year.

With a possible quarter-final place up for grabs for the two teams, this clash will be a fitting end to the first round of fixtures at the tournament.

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