Rugby World Cup 2023 is going to be a special edition. It’s not only the tenth time that the World Cup will be organized, it’s also two hundred years ago that the sport itself was invented. All major rugby countries come to France to celebrate.
The best rugby teams will participate at Rugby World Cup 2023. Twelve of the twenty participants have already been qualified because of their performance during the previous edition. We take a closer look at these top countries of rugby. More detailed information about the Rugby World Cup Pools France 2023 can be found by clicking on the link.
Current champion South Africa will do anything in its power to defend its title. Together with New Zealand, the African country has conquered the most championships in the history of the tournament: both won the World Cup three times. Even though South Africa only participated seven times. Not a bad score.
It’s no surprise that South Africa always shows up with one of the best teams. The Springboks grow up with rugby and many children play it at school, all dreaming of the moment they get to hold the World Cup. They will get a new chance in 2023.
England is the country where rugby was born in 1823, when a boy named William Webb Ellis picked up a football with his hands during a match at school and started running. Two hundred years later the Rugby World Cup 2023 will be played in France.
England also played the first international rugby match ever against Scotland in 1871. Now, the English national rugby team is at the top of the pyramid. The British lost the final in 2019 to South Africa, but won the Six Nations in 2020.
Rugby’s homeland has attended every World Cup, taking the title in 2003. Ever since, the English have been craving a new title.
To the general public, The All Blacks are best known for their impressive Haka, but real rugby fans know that the New Zealand players don’t just impress before the match. The three-time world champion – most recently in 2015 – has a positive balance against every other country. That explains why the Rugby Championship record holder (sixteen titles) is always one of the favorites for the Rugby World Cup.
Host country France is the country with the most registered rugby players in the world. 542,242 to be exact. But the French are still waiting for their first world title. All three finals they played were lost. A country with a great rugby culture, but without worldwide success. Will that finally happen in their own country?
In Wales, rugby is considered the national sport. The country has more than three hundred rugby clubs and the history of the Welsh Rugby Union dates back to 1881. In the 1970s, Wales had a very strong team, but because the Rugby World Cup did not exist at that time, it did not get the chance to conquer a world title. Today, Wales is always competing for the prizes in the Six Nations tournament. An outsider to reckoned with for Rugby World Cup 2023.
The Irish national team consists of the best players from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Together, the two countries are regular participants in the Six Nations, the Autumn Cup and the Rugby World Cup. In 2019 Ireland topped the World Rugby Ranking for the first time. They have not maintained that position, but it indicates that Ireland will certainly not compete just for fun in France in 2023.
Another national team with a famous nickname: The Wallabies. Rugby in Australia peaked in the 1990s, when the national team became world champions twice (1991 and 1999). This century, The Wallabies have not yet managed to capture the world title, but as a real rugby country, the Australians undoubtedly want to do better than in 2019, when the team did not get passed the quarter finals.
As the host country of the last Rugby World Cup, Japans journey ended in the quarterfinals by losing to the eventual champion South Africa. Japan is known as a good all-round team, good in defending as well as attacking.
Interesting detail: both the national coach and the captain come from New Zealand. Coach Jamie Joseph was previously active as a player in Japan and since 2016 as manager. Captain Michael Leitch moved from New Zealand to the Asian country at a young age.
With only 49,265 registered rugby players, Scotland is doing surprisingly well in the world rankings. The seventh place gives a good impression of the country’s position in global rugby. Scotland’s best ever performance at a World Cup was fourth in 1991.
Argentina has participated in the World Cup Rugby every four years since the first World Cup in 1987. In 2007 the South Americans achieved the highest position: the third place.
Italy never got passed the group stage at the largest international tournament. The position in the world rankings provides a poor perspective for Rugby World Cup 2023. In fourteenth place is Italy behind Georgia and Tonga, which have not yet qualified.
The British and New Zealanders introduced rugby to Fiji in 1884. The islanders fell in love with the sport and embraced it in their culture. With almost six hundred registered rugby clubs and 37,570 players, Fiji is not the largest rugby country, but given the country’s nine hundred thousand inhabitants, the regular participation in the Rugby World Cup is an achievement in itself!
Later on, eight more countries will be added to the field based on a qualifying tournament. The winner of the qualification, two countries from Europe, two from the American continents and one from Asia, Oceania and Africa complete the total of twenty teams.
A lot can still happen until 2023, but write 8 September to 21 October 2023 in your agenda. As an official partner of Rugby World Cup 2023, we will keep you informed of all developments. You can already pre-register for tickets.