England will begin the 2023 World Cup against Argentina in Marseille, while Scotland will take on defending champions South Africa in the same city a day later.

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Both matches will be played at the Stade Velodrome, on Saturday, September 9 and Sunday, September 10.

Hosts France will face three-time winners New Zealand in a tantalising opening match of the tournament at the Stade de France in Paris on September 8.

After their Pool D opener against Los Pumas, Eddie Jones’ 2019 runners-up will take on Japan in Nice on September 17 before back-to-back games in Lille against qualifiers from the Americas and Oceania on September 23 and October 7 respectively.

Wales, meanwhile, begin their Pool C campaign against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10 and take on two-time champions Australia in Lyon a fortnight later.

Ireland’s quest to progress beyond the quarter-finals for the first time also starts in Bordeaux, where they will play a European qualifier on September 9.

Andy Farrell’s men face the Springboks in Paris on September 23 and will then return to the Stade de France to complete their Pool B games against rivals Scotland on October 7.

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The Springboks will kick off the defence of their 2023 Rugby World Cup crown on Sunday, 10 September 2023 against Scotland in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

The defending Rugby World Cup-champion Springboks were drawn in Pool B alongside old rivals New Zealand.

The Springboks then head to the south of France to the city of Toulouse to play the All Blacks one week later on Friday 15 September at Stadium de Toulouse.

And another six days later, on 23 September, the Boks and Ireland will clash for the first time ever at a RWC when they meet at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis on the outskirts of Paris, the scene of the South Africans’ memorable triumph over England in the 2007 final.

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The Boks then return to Marseille for their last group match against an Asian-Pacific 1 qualifier in the Stade Velodrome on 1 October.

The All Blacks’ last two Pool games will be played at Parc OL, Lyon: Italy on Friday 29 September and Americas 1 on Thursday 5 October.

Games will be played at nine venues across France.

The final – scheduled for Saturday, October 28 – the third-placed play-off, both semi-finals and two of the quarter-finals will be staged at the Stade de France.

Marseille will host the other two last-eight fixtures.

A new innovative match schedule developed by World Rugby and the France 2023 Organising Committee, in partnership with International Rugby Players, host cities and broadcasters, has team and fans experience at heart.

For the first time in the tournament’s history, all teams will have a minimum of five rest days between all matches and an increased squad size of 33 players, optimising recovery and preparation and improving on-field performances.

All matches will be organised between Wednesday and Sunday to maximise fan attendance and broadcast engagement and seven double-header weekends will translate into a festival atmosphere in the host cities. Building on a record economic impact of RWC 2019 in Japan, France 2023 will look to be the most impactful and sustainable Rugby World Cup ever, delivering a tangible impact for society and rugby.

With momentum building, the Rugby World Cup 2023 ticketing programme will launch later next month as the first tickets for the showcase competition will go on sale. A virtual press conference held by Alan Gilpin (Head of Rugby World Cup) and Claude Atcher (France 2023 CEO) will be organised on 4 March, 2021 at 08:00 GMT to present all details and answer media enquiries.

World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The match schedule announcement is the moment when the tournament truly comes alive for fans all around the world and is an exciting milestone on the road to Rugby World Cup France 2023. It has been developed with teams and fans at heart and we are confident it will provide the best possible platform for a thrilling, historic and very special Rugby World Cup in the sport’s 200th year. I would like to thank our friends at the France 2023 Organising Committee for their efforts in building the most fair and equitable RWC match schedule ever. I know I speak for fans around the world when I say that 2023 cannot come fast enough!”

World Rugby Vice-Chairman, Bernard Laporte added: “The match schedule announcement is a wonderful moment for all Rugby World Cup 2023’s stakeholders. It has everything: the world’s 20 best teams, 48 games and 51 days of celebration. Designed with players and fans at heart, this match schedule will delight all rugby lovers around the world. We have given each host city the opportunity to shine with thrilling fixtures happening all over France. We look forward to 2023!”

More to follow…

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