Rugby World Cup 2023 fixtures: Top games in Round Two action

Rugby World Cup 2023 fixtures: Top games in Round Two action
The first round of Rugby World Cup 2023 fixtures felt like ‘Christmas come early’ for rugby fans. It was a celebration across the French host nation, and this weekend looks to be just as action-packed.
That first weekend certainly delivered some shiny gifts. Attacking flair from Wales v Fiji, a brilliant no-look cross-field kick from Manie Libbok against Scotland, and a ‘Colosseum atmosphere’ for France’s victory over the All Blacks. Reasons why supporters should expect teams to take it up a notch from Thursday onward.

Rugby World Cup 2023 fixtures: top games in Round Two action

Plenty of fans would love to sink into the sofa and watch the entire fixture list for Round Two, but sadly, life gets in the way! With this in mind, here is a selection of fixtures to pencil in for this weekend [in your region]. Matches are available through multiple broadcasters, check your local listings for start times and build-up towards the game which stands out for you.

Below is a handful of games where the outcome is not as critical as those teams involved, their history, and on what level participating players and stakeholders hold these games in.

Wales v Portugal

Wales deserve plenty of credit for their attacking flair in their victory over Fiji. They rarely kicked the ball off the field and opted to play an entertaining brand of rugby. The beautiful cross-field kick from flanker Jac Morgan was a particular highlight. Portugal plays a similar brand of rugby, as they aim to get the ball wide early to their talented wingers. Rodrigo Marta is the country’s record try scorer with 25 international tries, and yet he is just 23 years old!
If both teams continue playing this way, we could be in for a match with a boatload of tries this weekend. If the Portuguese bring the same passion to their anthem as the 2007 team, even the pre-match could be quite special.

Ireland v TongaΒ 

Tonga has provided special World Cup memories, from rocking the eventual 2007 RWC Champions South Africa, to defeating France in 2011. After World Rugby’s eligibility law changes, rugby fans are now hugely excited to see a Tonga squad stacked with former All Blacks and Wallabies.
Opposing them, the world’s highest-ranked team, Ireland, should be too much for them. But there is always that ‘what if’ factor that makes these Pool matches so exciting. Regardless, Ireland plays entertaining rugby, and it will be fun to watch them clash against a star-studded Tonga team.

Fiji v Australia

Fiji’s performance against Wales was magical. It was genuinely emotive to see rugby played in that way. Much has been spoken about the officiating of that game, as Fiji came agonizingly close to an upset. Fans felt Fiji deserved more. So this is one of the Rugby World Cup fixtures for supporters to get excited about.

This could be the game of the weekend and will have big ramifications for Pool C.

Australia has a chance to take a big step towards gaining credibility here in France. Eddie Jones’ Australia team finally claimed a win against Georgia on the weekend, but they are far from the finished article.

England v JapanΒ 

England’s spirited victory over Argentina has lifted the spirits of their fans. However, it doesn’t change the fact that Jonny May’s score in that ill-fated warm-up game against Fiji is the team’s only backline try in over seven hours of rugby. While experimentation is an option for the likes of France and New Zealand, England must retain their strike power, if they want to escape with any more RWC tournament wins.
Japan is not the same beast as they were in 2019 – formidable yes, just not boosted by the same home support that France now enjoys. But there is still plenty of skillful talent in the backline. If England are slightly below par, and Japan are firing on all cylinders, this could be an opportunity for an upset.
It will be interesting to see if England can back up their gutsy win, and there will be plenty of individuals under the microscope. Can George Ford impress Steve Borthwick and overtake Owen Farrell in the pecking order? If Billy Vunipola returns; as rumour has it, could he be the force he once was? Plenty on the line in this fixture on Sunday.

Huge excitement grows at Rugby World Cup 2023Β 

With incredible atmospheres and spectacles in the first weekend, the appetite for more has only increased. It wasn’t perfect; the card lottery was in full effect, and the national anthem performances were a bit bizarre. But the journey has only just begun for rugby fans at Rugby World Cup 2023.
Hopefully, followers have more humdinger matches, iconic moments, and even a few tournament-defining upsets in store!
“Main photo credit Wikimedia Creative Commons

2015 Rugby World Cup, France vs. Romania (cropped)