World Rugby intend to press ahead with plans to use the television match official ‘bunker’ technology at the World Cup next month despite fears it has been undermined by the controversy caused by Owen Farrell’s red card against Wales.
Farrell’s red for his dangerous tackle to the head of Wales back row forward Taine Basham came as a result of the bunker review system, which is being trialled during the World Cup warm-up matches. Farrell was originally shown a yellow card but the incident was then referred to the ‘bunker’ and upgraded to a red card by television match official Brian MacNeice.
The controversial decision by the independent disciplinary panel to downgrade the card to yellow, before it was later reinstated, not only created a sense of outrage but also left national head coaches privately concerned about the potential implications of the bunker process if it is used during the World Cup.
World Rugby have yet to officially confirm it will be used during the tournament in France but it is understood that the decision to appeal the downgrading of Farrell’s red card was in part to demonstrate their support for both their officials and the bunker process.
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, especially after their dominant showing at the Rugby Championship.
However, a strong European challenge is expected, not least from France and Six Nations Grand Slam winners Ireland, who have yet to put their best foot forward at a World Cup but hammered England in a warm-up match.
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 de Marseille (67,394) – Marseille
- OL Stadium (59,186) – Lyon
- Stade Pierre-Mauroy (50,186) – Lille
- Stade de Bordeaux (42,115) – Bordeaux
- Stade Geoffroy-Guichard (41,965) – Saint-Étienne
- Stade de Nice (35,624) – Nice
- Stade de la Beaujoire (35,322) – Nantes
- Stade de Toulouse (33,150) – Toulouse
How do I watch the Rugby World Cup?
ITV have the exclusive broadcast rights 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 warm-up fixtures featuring other Six Nations teams.
The next warm-up match for England is against Ireland on August 19. Their final match before heading to France, against Fiji at Twickenham the following weekend, is also on Amazon Prime.
In the US, the tournament is being shown on NBC Sports. In South Africa it’s on SuperSport.
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 back in 2019 (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).
Who is in what pool?
Rugby World Cup 2023 full fixtures and schedule
- Friday, Sept 8 - France v New Zealand, Stade de France, 8.15pm (BST)
- Saturday, Sept 9 - Italy v Namibia, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 12.00pm
- Saturday, Sept 9 - Ireland v Romania, Stade de Bordeaux, 2.30pm
- Saturday, Sept 9 - Australia v Georgia, Stade de France, 5pm
- Saturday, Sept 9 - England v Argentina, Stade de Marseille, 8pm
- Sunday, Sept 10 - Japan v Chile, Stade de Toulouse, 12pm
- Sunday, Sept 10 - South Africa v Scotland, Stade de Marseille, 4.45pm
- Sunday, Sept 10 - Wales v Fiji, Stade de Bordeaux, 8pm
- Thursday, Sept 14 - France v Uruguay, Stade Pierre-Mauroy, 8pm
- Friday, Sept 15 - New Zealand v Namibia, Stadium de Toulouse, 8pm
- Saturday, Sept 16 - Samoa v Chile, Stade de Bordeaux, 2pm
- Saturday, Sept 16 - Wales v Portugal, Stade de Nice 4.45pm
- Saturday, Sept 16 - Ireland v Tonga, Stade de la Beaujoire, 8pm
- Sunday, Sept 17 - South Africa v Romania, Stade de Bordeaux, 2pm
- Sunday, Sept 17 - Australia v Fiji, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm
- Sunday, Sept 17 - England v Japan, Stade de Nice, 8pm
- Wednesday, Sept 20 - Italy v Uruguay, Stade de Nice, 4.45pm
- Thursday, Sept 21 - France v Namibia, Stade de Marseille, 8pm
- Friday, Sept 22 - Argentina v Samoa, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, 4.45pm
- Saturday, Sept 23 - Georgia v Portugal, Stadium de Toulouse, 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, Stade de Nice, 4.45pm
- Sunday, Sept 24 - Wales v Australia, OL Stadium, 8pm
- Wednesday, Sept 27 - Uruguay v Namibia, OL Stadium, 4.45pm
- Thursday, Sept 28 - Japan v Samoa, Stade de Toulouse, 8pm
- Friday, Sept 29 - New Zealand v Italy, OL Stadium, 8pm
- Saturday, Sept 30 - Argentina v Chile, Stade de la Beaujoire, 2pm
- Saturday, Sept 30 - Fiji v Georgia, 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 de Marseille, 8pm
- Thursday, Oct 5 - New Zealand v Uruguay, OL Stadium, 8pm
- Friday, Oct 6 - France v Italy, OL Stadium, 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, Stade de Toulouse, 8pm
- Saturday, Oct 14 - Winner Pool C v Runner-up Pool D, Stade de Marseille, 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 de Marseille, 4pm
- Sunday, Oct 15 - Winner Pool 4 v Runner-up Pool B, Stade de France, 8pm
- 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
- Friday, Oct 27 - Runner-up SF 1 v Runner-up SF 2, Stade de France, 8pm
- Saturday, Oct 28 - Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2, Stade de France, 8pm
England’s World Cup squad
Owen Farrell will miss England’s opening two matches at the Rugby World Cup after receiving a red card for a high tackle on Taine Basham during the warm-up victory over Wales at Twickenham. Billy Vunipola also received a suspension for his high tackle in the defeat to Ireland and will miss the opener against Argentina. Jack van Poortvliet has been ruled out of the 33-man squad that was selected earlier in August by Steve Borthwick and has been replaced by Alex Mitchell.
You can read Will Greenwood’s verdict on the 33 men who have been selected.
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)***
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)*
Theo Dan (Saracens)
Ben Earl (Saracens)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears)*
Jamie George (Saracens)**
Maro Itoje (Saracens)*
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)***
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints)*
Joe Marler (Harlequins)**
George Martin (Leicester Tigers)
David Ribbans (Toulon)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears)*
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens) **
Jack Walker (Harlequins)
Jack Willis (Toulouse)
Henry Arundell (Racing 92)
Danny Care (Harlequins)*
Elliot Daly (Saracens)*
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
**George Ford (Sale Sharks)**
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby)
Max Malins (Bristol Bears)
Joe Marchant (Stade Francais)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks)**
Anthony Watson (unattached)**
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)***
*denotes number of Rugby World Cup tournaments played
New Zealand: 9/4
South Africa: 9/2
Odds correct as of August 23