The biggest international rugby tournament will take place in France in 2023. Find out about the stadiums and cities where the matches will take place. In 2023, France will host the most prestigious international rugby union competition. Twenty teams will take part in the France Rugby World Cup 2023, which has been held every four years since 1987.
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South Africa will defend the title they won in Japan in 2019 but will face stiff competition from the traditional rugby hubs of New Zealand, Australia and England, who are all previous winners. The hosts will also be among the favorites to win the Six Nations Championship in 2022. France has been runner-up three times but never won the Webb Ellis Cup, so could 2023 finally be the year of Les Bleus? Wherever they play, they are sure to be supported by a passionate crowd.
Here is our guide to the nine venues for the RWC 2023.
When is the France Rugby World Cup 2023?
The France Rugby World Cup 2023 will take place over seven weeks in the fall of 2023. The opening match of the tournament will take place on Friday, September 8, and the final will take place on Saturday, October 28.
Where are the RWC 2023 matches being played?
The 10th Rugby World Cup takes place in stadiums across France. Some of them are in traditional rugby hotbeds such as Toulouse and Bordeaux; others in the stadiums are more used to football than rugby, but they are all in major cities with excellent transport links.
Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux
The Bordeaux stadium, only seven years old, is not yet familiar with the oval ball, but with a capacity of 42,000, it promises to be a worthy venue for the RWC. It also looks fantastic – the stadium was designed by architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron.
Bordeaux has a top notch rugby team, the Bordeaux Bègles, but it’s a little more famous for its wines! Explore vineyards, museums and elegant shopping malls in one of the most beautiful and cosmopolitan cities in France. This is sure to be a great place to visit during the tournament.
Five pool matches, including Wales against Fiji on September 10, is a challenging encounter for the Welsh and a chance to see Fiji play its exciting brand of free rugby. If you are planning to drive to Bordeaux for the tournament, check out our driving guide from Calais to Bordeaux.
Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille
Just an hour and a half from Calais, Lille is the closest city to the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle terminal. As such, Lille offers UK fans the best opportunity to catch a game at the France Rugby World Cup 2023. England will play two pool matches here and Scotland one.
Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille is a state-of-the-art stadium with a retractable roof. The stadium’s feature, “Boîte à Spectacles”, allows half of the field to slide on top of the other, turning the stadium into an arena for concerts or sports such as basketball.
Lille, proud of its tradition of festivities and gourmet food, is a hospitable city filled with generosity and warmth. With its unique charm, Lille offers visitors an alluring blend of Flemish vivacity and French elegance, making it an exciting place to visit. Rugby fans can buy Rugby World Cup Final Tickets at exclusively discounted prices.
OL Stadium, Lyon
The Olympique Lyonnais stadium in Lyon, the third largest venue for the competition, will host rugby’s most famous players. France, New Zealand, Australia and Wales will play matches here, and the match between Wales and Australia on 24 September will undoubtedly be the highlight.
Guests of Lyon are waiting for a treat. The city is considered one of the food capitals of the world. There are some incredible food markets, and traditional “bouchon” restaurants serve local delicacies of beef, pork and delicious wines.
Lyon’s climate means rugby fans will still be able to bask in the warmth in September and October and make the most of the city’s other attractions such as river cruises, golf courses and green spaces.
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
The southernmost place, Marseille, an unforgettable city. Its stadium, the Stade Velodrome, is one of the most famous in French sports, home to French football giants Olympique de Marseille and host to many iconic Rugby World Cup and European Championship matches.
England will play their first match of the tournament here against Argentina on 9 September, while Scotland, France and defending champions South Africa will play billiard games in Marseille. There are also two quarter-finals.
Marseille has always been a cosmopolitan city open to the world due to its privileged position on the Mediterranean coast. Fans looking for something to do during their stay in Marseille should head up to Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, a hilltop church that overlooks the city, stroll through the legendary Pannier district, or sample bouillabaisse, a traditional Provençal fish stew in the Old Port.
Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
Four games of billiards will be played at the Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes, the westernmost venue for the tournament. The trip to Nantes from Calais takes 6-7 hours. The Japan-Argentina clash on October 8 could determine one of the Group D qualifiers.
The stadium is the home stadium of the Nantes football club and has a capacity of 38,000 spectators. It hosted matches in the 1984 European Football Championship and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, as well as three matches in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. One of them, Fiji’s 38-34 victory over Wales, was one of the highlights of the tournament.
Nantes itself is a quaint and trendy city full of culture, history, beautiful gardens and parks, excellent restaurants and shops. Don’t leave Nantes without a ride in the Grand Éléphant – it’s bigger than even the bulkiest forward!
Stade de Nice, Nice
The Stade de Nice, also known as the Allianz Riviera, is one of the newest stadiums for tournaments, only opening in 2013. It hosted matches for Euro 2016 and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and is also the home ground of the French League. 1 side OGC Nice. The leading French rugby club Toulon plays from time to time at the Stade de Nis. Happy fans from Wales, England and Scotland will gather on the Cote d’Azur to play billiards.
With 300 days of sunshine a year, an autumn visit to Nice will still feel like summer for a British rugby fan! Taste Mediterranean gastronomic specialties pan bagnat, pissaladière or socca in one of the many restaurants tucked away in the city’s typical narrow streets or piazzettas. Or have a picnic and go to the beach!
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
With a capacity of 81,000, the Stade de France is the largest stadium in the country. It was built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, which the hosts won in spectacular fashion. However, this was not always a good luck charm for Les Bleus, as France lost there in the Euro 2016 final to Portugal.
More matches will be played at the Stade de France than any other. It will host the opening match – a mouth-watering clash between France and New Zealand – three more pool games, two quarter-finals, two semi-finals, a bronze final and the final itself. France will play three of their pool matches there.
Saint-Denis is a lively suburb of Paris, located just 10 km from the city center. From the North Station can be reached by metro in 5 minutes. The atmosphere on the way to the matches in France will be incredible!
Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne
The Stade Geoffroy Guichard, which has become a classic among French sports stadiums, was opened in 1931. It is synonymous with the Saint-Étienne football team that has played here throughout its history. Known as “l’enfer vert” (“green hell”) because of the green shirts worn by Saint-Étienne and the intimidating atmosphere the fans create, the stadium hosts four Rugby World Cup matches.
It will be the green and gold Australian fans who will fill the 42,000 capacity ground for their two games here. Saint-Étienne has a rich industrial past and was considered the industrial capital of Europe in the 19th century. It values its originality and pioneering spirit and is the only French city to receive the UNESCO City of Creative Design status.
Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
Of all the host cities, Toulouse is the one where the love of rugby is felt everywhere you go. His club “Toulouse” is a multiple champion of the country and the owner of the European Cup. Notable French players representing Toulouse include Thomas Castaigned and Gael Fico. The club plays its main games at the Stade Toulouse, but its usual home arena is the smaller Stade Ernest-Vallon. Known as “Little Wembley”, Toulouse Stadium hosts five games during the Rugby World Cup 2023.
Pink City, named after the color of the bricks used in all of its notable buildings, welcomes you with the friendliness you would expect from a rugby-loving community. If fans have a day to explore Toulouse, they should head to the Saint-Sernin Basilica, the photography museum at the Galerie de Château d’eau, and La Citié de l’Espace, the space museum.
Rugby World Cup 2023 Fan Zones
Where can you see the Rugby World Cup 2023 even if you don’t have a ticket? Fanzones are expected to be in most (if not all) host cities, but fanzone venues will be confirmed by the organizers closer to the tournament.
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