World Rugby and the France 2023 organising committee held the pool draw for the tournament in Paris on December 14... 2019 champions Springboks in Pool B
Preparations for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France marked an important milestone today with confirmation of the pools for the 10th edition of the pinnacle competition in men’s 15s rugby.
The draw hosted in Paris was opened by World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont and French President Emmanuel Macron as France prepares to deliver a landmark event for players, fans, the host nation and rugby.
Confirmation of the pools means that teams and fans can now start to plan their Rugby World Cup 2023 adventure.
Three times champion the All Blacks are in Pool A with host nation France along with Italy, Americas 1 qualifier and Africa 1 qualifier. Current champions and also three time winners South Africa were drawn in Pool B with Ireland, Scotland, Asia/Pacific 1 qualifier and Europe 2 qualifier.
Double cup winners Australia will face Wales, Fiji, Europe 1 qualifier and the repechage qualifier in Pool C. Argentina is in Pool D with England, Japan, Oceania 1 qualifier and Americas 2 qualifier.
The Springboks have never been drawn in a RWC pool with Ireland and will be defending a proud history as they have only lost three pool matches in seven tournaments, against England (2003), Japan (2015) and New Zealand (2019).
The Boks have twice been in the same pool as Scotland, in 1999 and 2015. Since their first RWC participation in 1995, the Springboks have played 43 RWC games, winning 36 and losing seven. That winning tally, including three RWC Final triumphs, give the Springboks an impressive win percentage of 83.72%.
“We are obviously excited about the draw today, and although the Rugby World Cup in France is still almost three years away, it’s good to have an end-goal to work towards,” said Springbok head coach Jacques Nienaber.
“To be in the same pool as Ireland and Scotland will be a massive challenge, but to win the tournament, you have to be able to beat all the teams and we will be properly tested in the pool phases.
“We saw last year the margin for error – even during the pool stages – at any Rugby World Cup is very small.
“Take for instance our situation where we simply had to win every single pool game after our loss to the All Blacks in Japan, to ensure we qualify for the knockout stages.
“If you look at the countries in the top three bands, I would say each one of those teams is capable of beating another on any given day, proven by a team such as Japan, who have made huge strides in recent years.”
The All Blacks have played France seven times at RWCs, the most of any country, and Italy five times, with the 2019 fixture cancelled.
The Americas 1 winner will come from a play off series between the 2021 Rugby Americas North champion and 2021 Sudamerica Rugby champion. Africa 1 will be the winner of the 2022 Rugby Africa Cup.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster said playing France will be a huge challenge. “You can just see that France are really building a team at the moment of great depth. You can see that all their planning in around 2023. We'll be expecting a vibrant French team in a country that love their rugby. We know they'll have massive support behind them."
“But that's what makes World Cups so special, those sort of games. And they're games that we thrive on. That we look forward to. We know that if you're not at your best, you're going to struggle."
The Wallabies will meet some familiar foes at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, with Australia drawn in Pool C alongside Wales, Fiji, Europe 1 and the Final Qualifying team at a live event in Paris on Monday evening.
Australia met both Fiji and Wales at the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, with the men in gold finishing top of Pool A in 2015 and second in the Pool D in 2019.
It will be the eighth time Australia has played Wales at the Rugby World Cup and the third consecutive time they have been drawn in the same pool, with the men in gold holding five wins against their Welsh rivals.
The Wallabies are one of the more successful teams in the history of the tournament with Australia having won two World Cups in 1991 and 1999 and made the Final in 2003 and 2015. In 2011 the Wallabies defeated Wales to take out third place.
New Wallabies coach Dave Rennie blooded ten new debutants in 2020 as Australia continues to build towards Rugby’s flagship tournament in 2023.
Wallabies coach, Dave Rennie said: “We’re really excited from a World Cup perspective, it’s a long way off but it makes it a bit of a reality now."
“There’s no easy Pool as we’ve all talked about. If you look at the three teams that we know are confirmed in this Pool they’re all really tough.
“We’re all three years away, our teams are going to change a lot, there’ll be other guys that will come through and I imagine we’ll all be better in three years time.
“There’s so much water to go under the bridge so our focus will be on a really big campaign next year."
Past RWC Winners
- 2019 Japan: South Africa
- 2015 England: New Zealand
- 2011 New Zealand: New Zealand
- 2007 France: South Africa
- 2003 Australia: England
- 1999 UK: Australia
- 1995 South Africa: South Africa
- 1991 UK: Australia
- 1987 NZ/Australia: New Zealand