Looking at it, the Stadium selection used for the 2023 Rugby World Cup fixture list across cities in France is secondary to the tournament draw. The matches take center stage however, the right setting and facilities can set up the encounter as a classic fans will all want to witness.
The RWC 2023 Draw has been made, the match schedule has been announced and each of the qualified teams, and their fans, now know exactly where they will be during the pool phase, and potentially beyond.
The feeling from Japan 2019 was that the host nation and the host cities which catered so well to fans from around the world was a positive outcome. That had a lot to do with the infrastructure. A fantastic train network that enabled visitors to criss-cross the nation so quickly and comfortably. The same can be said of France’s transport system, which has a network that will move visitors easily to all the assorted stages chosen, for the 2023 Rugby World Cup fixture list.
Large tournaments benefit from having the facilities to hold both a volume of and a comfortable surrounding where the fan can be engaged. A list of 10 cities has been selected by World Rugby that provides an inviting and welcoming host, on top of stadiums that are modern, up to a high standard, and can provide the right setting for all matches.
The host cities and stadiums shown below will really show off all regions of France.
Visitors will get to criss-cross the country using the awesome train network (just like in Japan)
Let's hope the conditions improve by #RWC2023 so as many rugby fans can cheer on the Teams pic.twitter.com/aHg9r232zL
— scott hornell (@scotthornell73) May 10, 2021
Plus, they will be centers for cultural activities and promotion of the town, region, and for France. All those elements will be on show, and expect cities like Nice and Marseille to be areas that enjoy huge numbers of visitors, as will the centers of Toulouse and Cup final hot spot, Paris.
2023 Rugby World Cup fixture list
Stade de Bordeaux
Home to the city’s Ligue 1 football club, Stade de Bordeaux opened its doors in May 2015, less than two weeks before it hosted the semi-finals of that year’s Top 14 play-offs. Rugby returned to the venue in June, 2019, when 42,071 fans filled the stands to watch Stade Toulousain take on Stade Rochelais in the Top 14 semi-finals
FIXTURE LIST: Fiji, Ireland, South Africa and Wales are already confirmed to be playing in Bordeaux during RWC 2023, as the futuristic stadium gets ready to host five matches.
Stade Pierre Mauroy
Built as a home for Lille OSC, Stade Pierre Mauroy was opened in August 2012 and three months later hosted its first rugby match as France beat Argentina 39-22. The city itself, Lille was a host city during Rugby World Cup 1991, when the nearby Stade du Nord was the venue for New Zealand’s quarter-final victory against Canada.
FIXTURE LIST: Five RWC 2023 pool matches are scheduled to be played at the stadium, with hosts France, England and Scotland spending time in the northern city.
Parc OL, Lyon
Opened in January 2016, the home of Olympique Lyonnais has since hosted a series of international events, including rugby. Parc OL had been open for only four months when the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals were played at the new stadium.
Parc OL hosted matches during both UEFA Euro 2016 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019, while the Coupe de la Ligue final and UEFA Europa League final have also been played on its hybrid grass.
#Lyon accueillera plusieurs rencontres de la Coupe du Monde de #rugby 2023 au @GroupamaStadium ! 😀
*#Lyon will host several matches of the Rugby #WorldCup 2023 at the Groupama Stadium!#France2023 pic.twitter.com/lpiM6a8jtP
— ONLYLYON (@OnlyLyon) November 16, 2017
FIXTURE LIST: Wales and Australia are scheduled to compete in the first RWC 2023 match at the stadium, and with hosts France, Italy and New Zealand also due to pass through Lyon, fans with tickets for Lyon should be in for a treat.
Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
An historic stadium that has been renovated three times since it opened in 1937, Stade Vélodrome hosted two quarter-finals at RWC 2007. The home of Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille, the stadium staged its first test match on 18 November, 2000, when France beat New Zealand 42-33.
Since then, Les Bleus have played a further 11 tests at the iconic venue, winning nine and losing twice — against Argentina in 2004 and the All Blacks in 2009.
FIXTURE LIST: Four pool matches, with England, Argentina, South Africa, Scotland, and hosts France will play (as well as the Africa 1/Asia 1 qualifier).
Stade de la Beaujoire, Nantes
Stade de la Beaujoire played host to one of Rugby World Cup’s most iconic matches, as Fiji ran in four tries to beat Wales 38-34 and booked their place in the 2007 quarter-finals.
Opened in 1984, Stade de la Beaujoire is the home of Ligue 1 side FC Nantes. Its most celebrated rugby match came when the stadium first hosted a test on 15 November, 1986. In that game, France beat New Zealand 16-3, and is famous for the violent nature of the game – with All Black captain Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford being taken from the field with a nasty injury.
FIXTURE LIST: Four matches are scheduled to be played at Stade de la Beaujoire with Japan’s meeting with Argentina on the final day of the pool stage the highlight for fans in town.
Stade de Nice, Nice
Home to Ligue 1 club OGC Nice, Stade de Nice is another RWC 2023 host venue that also staged matches during UEFA Euro 2016 and FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.
Situated on the Côte d’Azur, to the west of Monaco, there will be plenty for fans to get up to in between matches, from relaxing on its beaches to soaking up the local art scene and eating niçoise style.
FIXTURE LIST: scheduled to host four matches during RWC 2023, with Wales, England, Japan, Italy, and Scotland among the teams that will play on its manicured turf. Of note, the Japan v England fixture will see former Brave Blossoms head coach Eddie Jones lead his current group in a key encounter.
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
Built for the FIFA World Cup 1998, France’s national stadium [Stade de France] has since also become home to the country’s rugby team. Les Bleus first played in Saint-Denis on 7 February, 1998, when Philippe Bernat-Salles and the late Christophe Dominici both crossed the whitewash in a 24-17 defeat of England.
Stade de France has hosted 97 men’s test matches — including the RWC 1999 quarter-final, and the France 2007 final. It is the spiritual home for Les Bleus, and will play a key part of the tournament once again.
FIXTURE LIST: In total, Stade de France will host 10 matches at RWC 2023, including the mouthwatering opening match between Les Bleus and the All Blacks. Both semi-finals, the bronze final, and the final scheduled for October 28.
Fans with tickets to any of those matches will, of course, find plenty to do away from the action, with the chance to visit world-leading museums, heritage sights and much, much more in nearby Paris.
Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Étienne
The oldest stadium selected as a host venue for RWC 2023, Stade Geoffroy Guichard was opened on 13 September, 1931, and has since undergone three renovations, each one ahead of its use at a major football tournament.
Used in past World Cup events for both football and rugby union. The venue’s first home test saw a 12 try trouncing of Fiji 77-10, 24 in 2001. It hosted three pool games in 2007; Scotland appeared in two of those. Beating Portugal 56-10, and Italy 18-16, despite conceding the only try of the match.
FIXTURE LIST: four RWC 2023 matches are scheduled to be played at Stade Geoffroy Guichard, with Australia, Argentina, Fiji and Italy guaranteed to play in the ‘City of Design’.
Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse
Built to be a FIFA World Cup 1938 host venue, Stadium de Toulouse has since undergone three renovations and staged matches when football’s global showpiece returned to France 60 years later, and again during UEFA Euro 2016.
The historic stadium has had a long association with rugby, having served as a home for Stade Toulousain during Top 14 and European Champions Cup matches.
France has twice beaten the All Blacks at Stadium de Toulouse; 18-13 in 1977, and 22-15 in, 1995, with tries scored by Jean-Luc Sadourny, Richard Dourthe, and former head coach Philippe Saint-André.
With the experience of being a host city, Stadium de Toulouse has hosted four RWC 2007 matches, featuring the hosts, Fiji, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania, and New Zealand. The region will be a popular visitor destination, with matches planned around cultural events that should provide a fantastic environment for fun and rugby-fraternity.
FIXTURE LIST: Fiji, Japan, and the All Blacks are already guaranteed to return to Toulouse during RWC 2023, while Namibia could join them [should they qualify as Africa 1].
As the released 2023 Rugby World Cup fixture list shows the number of venues and regions where players and fans are set to enjoy the vastly experienced host nation.
France will do everything in their power to become only the second country to both host and WIN a Rugby World Cup final. And considering that Les Bleus have been the runners up on three occasions, it would bring such joy to the French people if the 2023 group could take one step higher on the grandest stage of all.
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