Rugby World Cup 2023: Match schedule, how to watch, latest news and odds

George Ford - Rugby World Cup 2023: Match schedule, how to watch, latest news and odds

George Ford has been lapping up the sessions looking at how the All Blacks and Springboks play – Getty Images/David Rogers

England coach Steve Borthwick has set World Cup homework — with players presenting analysis projects to the group as they seek to gain an advantage ahead of next month’s tournament.

New Zealand’s “lightning” ruck-speed and intelligent kicking have received special attention in recent days, as Borthwick aims to keep his group in tune with the strategic trends across the world.

George Ford, among the most astute tactical thinkers among Borthwick’s squad, seems destined for a career in coaching and has relished these focused sessions. With seven weeks until the tournament begins, the All Blacks’ win over South Africa in Auckland last Saturday, spurred by two tries in the first 15 minutes and underpinned by clever kicking variety, has been studied by England’s players in some detail.

Ford stressed that England will not be aiming to “copy or imitate” New Zealand or the Springboks, neither of whom they can meet until the semi-final stage of the World Cup, and are “very clear” on what their approach will be. He confirmed that he has found himself alongside Owen Farrell in training, suggesting that Borthwick could reprise that 10-12 axis at

To read what the fly-half had to say, please go here.

When is the Rugby World Cup?

The tournament begins on Friday, September 8 with France taking on New Zealand. The final will be played on Saturday, October 28.

South Africa were the winners of the last tournament – in Japan in 2019 – when they beat England in the final, and will be among the favourites again this year. New Zealand, as ever, will be the team to beat.

However, a strong European challenge is expected, not least from the hosts France and Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland, who have yet to put their best foot forward at a World Cup.

Where is it?

The 2023 Rugby World Cup will be played in France across nine stadiums in nine cities. The final will be played at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (Paris).

  • Stade de France (capacity 80,698)Saint-Denis (Paris)

  • Stade Velodrome (67,394) – Marseille

  • Parc Olympique Lyonnais (59,186) – Lyon

  • Stade Pierre-Mauroy (50,186) – Lille

  • Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux (42,115) Bordeaux

  • Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (41,965)Saint-Étienne

  • Allianz Riviera (35,624)Nice

  • Stade de la Beaujoire (35,322) – Nantes

  • Stadium Municipal (33,150)Toulouse

How do I watch it?

ITV have won the exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. We will update you with specific channels for each match at the tournament once they are announced by the broadcaster.

The radio commentary of every match will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC says there will be a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Amazon Prime will broadcast England’s first three World Cup warm-up games in August as well as nine other fixtures featuring other Six Nations teams.

Steve Borthwick’s team take on Wales in a home-and-away double-header before traveling to Ireland on August 19. Their final match before heading to France, against Fiji at Twickenham the following weekend, is also likely to be on Amazon Prime with scheduling issues being finalised.

The streaming service will also show warm-up games such as France welcoming Eddie Jones’ Australia.

Who is playing?

A total of 20 teams have qualified for the Rugby World Cup. These teams have been split into four pools of five, with each pool getting one team from five ‘bands’.

Band one featured the four highest-ranked teams from when the draw for the tournament was made (South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales). Band two comprised the next four highest-ranked teams (Ireland, Australia, France, Japan) and band three the four after that (Scotland, Argentina, Fiji, Italy).

Each side in the first three bands qualified automatically for the tournament owing to their world ranking, while the further two bands comprised the sides who had made it into the tournament via qualifying (Samoa, Georgia, Uruguay, Tonga, Namibia, Romania, Chile, Portugal).

Which players should we keep an eye on?

Titi Lamositele, capable of propping on both sides of the scrum, won trophies at Saracens before moving to Montpellier in the wake of the salary-cap scandal. He has been allowed to switch allegiance from the USA to Samoa due to the recent change in World Rugby eligibility rules that allows players to switch countries after a three-year stand-down period, provided that they qualify through birthright.

Tonga are likely to count Adam Coleman, the Australia lock, among their nation-hopping cohort at the tournament and Pacific Island teams are not the only ones taking advantage of the rule change.

Henry Thomas could swap England for Wales and Tawera Kerr-Barlow, the exceptional La Rochelle scrum-half, is now eligible to switch from New Zealand to Australia by dint of being born in Melbourne. South Africa confirmed that they would be exploring the availability of ex-Ireland lock Jean Kleyn, in fine form for Munster last season.

Who is in what pool?

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

Rugby World Cup 2023 full fixtures and schedule

POOL MATCHES

  • Friday, Sept 8 – France v New Zealand, Stade de France, 8pm BST

  • Saturday, Sept 9 – Italy v Namibia, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 12.00pm

  • Saturday, Sept 9 – Ireland v Romania, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, 2.30pm

  • Saturday, Sept 9 – Australia v Georgia, Stade de France, 5pm

  • Saturday, Sept 9 – England v Argentina, Stade Vélodrome, 8pm

  • Sunday, Sept 10 – Japan v Chile, Stadium Municipal, 12pm

  • Sunday, Sept 10 – South Africa v Scotland, Stade Vélodrome, 4.45pm

  • Sunday, Sept 10 – Wales v Fiji, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, 8pm

  • Thursday, Sept 14 – France v Uruguay, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 8pm

  • Friday, Sept 15 – New Zealand v Namibia, Stadium Municipal, 8pm

  • Saturday, Sept 16 – Samoa v Chile, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, 2pm

  • Saturday, Sept 16 – Wales v Portugal, Allianz Riviera, 4.45pm

  • Saturday, Sept 16 – Ireland v Tonga, Stade de la Beaujoire, 8pm

  • Sunday, Sept 17 – South Africa v Romania, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, 2pm

  • Sunday, Sept 17 – Australia v Fiji, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm

  • Sunday, Sept 17 – England v Japan, Allianz Riviera, 8pm

  • Wednesday, Sept 20 – Italy v Uruguay, Allianz Riviera, 4.45pm

  • Thursday, Sept 21 – France v Namibia, Stade Vélodrome, 8pm

  • Friday, Sept 22 – Argentina v Samoa, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm

  • Saturday, Sept 23 – Georgia v Portugal, Stadium Municipal, 1pm

  • Saturday, Sept 23 – England v Chile, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm

  • Saturday, Sept 23 – South Africa v Ireland, Stade de France, 8pm

  • Sunday, Sept 24 – Scotland v Tonga, Allianz Riviera, 4.45pm

  • Sunday, Sept 24 – Wales v Australia, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, 8pm

  • Wednesday, Sept 27 – Uruguay v Namibia, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, 4.45pm

  • Thursday, Sept 28 – Japan v Samoa, Stadium Municipal, 8pm

  • Friday, Sept 29 – New Zealand v Italy, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, 8pm

  • Saturday, Sept 30 – Argentina v Chile, Stade de la Beaujoire, 2pm

  • Saturday, Sept 30 – Fiji v Georgia, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, 4.45pm

  • Saturday, Sept 30 – Scotland v Romania, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 8pm

  • Sunday, Oct 1 – Australia v Portugal, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm

  • Sunday, Oct 1 – South Africa v Tonga, Stade Vélodrome, 8pm

  • Thursday, Oct 5 – New Zealand v Uruguay, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, 8pm

  • Friday, Oct 6 – France v Italy, Parc Olympique Lyonnais, 8pm

  • Saturday, Oct 7 – Wales v Georgia, Stade de la Beaujoire, 2pm

  • Saturday, Oct 7 – England v Samoa, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm

  • Saturday, Oct 7 – Ireland v Scotland, Stade de France, 8pm

  • Sunday, Oct 8 – Japan v Argentina, Stade de la Beaujoire, 12pm

  • Sunday, Oct 8 – Tonga v Romania, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 4.45pm

  • Sunday, Oct 8 – Fiji v Portugal, Stadium Municipal, 8pm

Quarter-finals

  • Saturday, Oct 14 – Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D, Stade Vélodrome, 4pm

  • Saturday, Oct 14 – Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A, Stade de France, 8pm

  • Sunday, Oct 15 – Winner Pool D v Runner-up Pool C, Stade Vélodrome, 4pm

  • Sunday, Oct 15 – Winner Pool 4 v Runner-up Pool B, Stade de France, 8pm

Semi-finals

  • Friday, Oct 20 – Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2, Stade de France, 8pm

  • Saturday, Oct 21 – Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4, Stade de France, 8pm

Bronze final

  • Friday, Oct 27 – Runner-up SF 1 v Runner-up SF 2, Stade de France, 8pm

Final

  • Saturday, Oct 28 – Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2, Stade de France, 8pm

England’s World Cup training squad

Forwards (23) Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 100 caps), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 45 caps), Theo Dan (Saracens, uncapped), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 14 caps), Ben Earl (Saracens, 15 caps), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 48 caps), Jamie George (Saracens, 77 caps), Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 19 caps), Maro Itoje (Saracens, 67 caps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 97 caps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 19 caps), Joe Marler (Harlequins, 79 caps), George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap), Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped), Val Rapava-Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped), David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 5 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 61 caps), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 25 caps), Jack Willis (Toulouse, 10 caps), Tom Willis (Bordeaux Begles, uncapped)

Backs (18) Henry Arundell (London Irish, 7 caps), Danny Care (Harlequins, 87 caps), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 14 caps), Elliot Daly (Saracens, 57 caps), Owen Farrell (Saracens, 106 caps), George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps), Max Malins (Saracens, 18 caps), Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 15 caps), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 72 caps), Cadan Murley (Harlequins, uncapped), Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 56 caps), Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 51 caps), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps), Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 122 caps)

Rehabilitation (5) Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 9 caps), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 11 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 79 caps), Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 68 caps)

Billy Vunipola remains upbeat about his chances of making the World Cup despite undergoing a minor surgical procedure on his injured knee.

The 30-year-old No 8 is understood to be in Steve Borthwick’s plans for the tournament. Despite not featuring in a Test match since Eddie Jones was dismissed as head coach, he is aiming to represent England at a third World Cup.

“The medical team are positive about my prospects and I understand exactly what needs to be done over the next few weeks,” said Vunipola.

Manu Tuilagi during England rugby captain's run at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Manu Tuilagi says England can beat anyone at the World Cup – Getty Images/Ramsey Cardy

What the players are saying

George Ford has also been reunited with Richard Wigglesworth, a former team-mate at Leicester Tigers and now among Borthwick’s coaching lieutenants, who has been integral to the analysis “projects” in camp.

“It’s something we did with Steve at Leicester as well,” Ford said. “It’s not overly taxing, it doesn’t take too much time but little and often, just trying to keep one step ahead. And the projects are on different things, so it could be who gets out of their half best or it could be who is the best in the opposition 22 or the set-piece or the kicking game. We did a first 20-minute project and we got posed a few questions — why are New Zealand are doing this? What can South Africa do? — and then we feed it back.”

“The tactical variation from teams has been interesting,” Ford explained of his views on the Rugby Championship as a whole. “Watching the New Zealand v South Africa game, watching teams and working out why they’re doing certain things, how they’re coming out of their own half, you see with New Zealand they’re kicking a lot more off 10 and 15 rather than nine.

“You see in the game these days the amount of box-kick battles there are, it’s enormous. So there’s variation in terms of giving a team a different proposition to counter-attack with or try and impose pressure on them.

“So, for example, everybody in training practises defending box-kicks. They get people in the right position around the ruck, the kick goes up, everybody is in an escort position so Freddie Steward can easily catch the ball, whereas teams are probably asking more questions now.

“They’re not even going there [to the box-kick], because if they go to the middle of the field, split the field and have options to kick then that escort situation becomes a lot tougher, which means chasers can get through for more of a contest. Then if you get the ball from an unstructured situation it’s a really juicy place to attack from. I found that massively interesting.

“And just the intensity of the breakdown. New Zealand, in particular, their ruck speed has been lightning. You look at why that is and I don’t think it’s just the ruck in isolation. It’s probably their attack shape and organisation as well. It gives them a one-on-one chance to win a collision, so the ball carrier is poking his nose through and then the cleaners are in and boom, it’s away.”

Richie Mo'unga

New Zealand’s ruck speed against South Africa impressed Ford and allowed them to play at pace and run in tries such as this from Richie Mo’unga – AFP/Michael Bradley

Although Ford has not featured in a Test match for over a year, he was called into camp by Borthwick during last season’s Six Nations as soon as his long-term Achilles’ tendon injury allowed. That was a mark of his value and the 30-year-old would appear set for a major role at the World Cup.

Working with the “authoritative” Wigglesworth will have given Ford a window into the transition from player to player-coach to coach; a route that he may well take himself.

“I really love the game,” Ford added. “I’m obsessed with watching it, which my wife is not too happy about. I just find it intriguing. I like to, in a funny sort of way, trying to stay a step ahead or predict what’s coming or where we can go next to keep moving on. What you see a lot of around the world is a successful team do one thing and everybody starting to follow it because they’re the successful team.

“But what intrigues me is [the question of] ‘what’s next’? ‘How do we stay a step ahead of that?’ And it is a bit of a coach’s mindset. But the best players in our positions are the best coaches on the field so I think it’s a necessity to be like that, especially at this level.”

In other news

Wales have been stung by yet another World Cup set-back with captain Ken Owens pulling out of their training squad due to a back injury.

The 91-cap hooker, who turned 36 in January and captained the side during the Six Nations, could return to the fold at some stage during the tournament but is unlikely to make the squad that departs for France in September.

Sam Parry of the Ospreys has been called up as a result, joining Dewi Lake, Ryan Elias and Elliot Dee in a squad featuring four hookers. Meanwhile, both Josh Mcleod and Will Davies-King have withdrawn due to shoulder and foot issues, respectively.

Wales will undergo a two-week training camp in Switzerland from July 3 before a further week in Turkey. Alex Cuthbert and Owen Williams will miss the Switzerland leg for personal reasons, while a calf complaint will prevent Taulupe Faletau from attending the first week.

August will stage warm-up Tests, with Wales facing England in a home-and-away double-header before hosting South Africa. At the World Cup itself, they share a group with Australia, Fiji, Georgia and Portugal.

Despite an underwhelming Six Nations comprising four losses and a victory over Italy and the news of Jones, Tipuric and Webb retiring, Gatland has labelled the progress of his players as “awesome” during Wales’ training camps thus far.

Latest odds

France: 3/1

New Zealand: 10/3

Ireland: 9/2

South Africa: 5/1

England: 10/1

Australia: 10/1

Argentina: 33/1

Scotland: 40/1

Wales: 40/1

Odds correct as of June 26

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