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'The facility is excellent' - Springboks select Rugby World Cup base

By Kim Ekin
Eben Etzebeth

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South Africa will use the port city of Toulon as their base of operations at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

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The defending champions will then travel to Paris for their third pool match against Ireland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

The Boks and current World Rugby top-ranked team had three possible locations in the south of France to choose from.

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After a thorough examination of the options by Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and the team’s head of operations Charles Wessels at the end of their November tour to the United Kingdom in 2021, the decision was made to choose the city on the Mediterranean coast as their preferred base for the international extravaganza.

The Springboks will begin their championship defense against Scotland on September 10 in Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome, before facing Spain at Bordeaux’s Stade de Bordeaux (17 September). They will then play Ireland.

“Toulon Rugby Club’s RCT campus hosts some of the best training and team facilities in the regions we visited, and we are delighted with our selection with Toulon as our base for three of the pool matches in the round-robin stages of the competition,” said Nienaber.

The Boks will use Toulon Rugby Club’s RCT campus as their main training field for the matches against Scotland, Spain and the qualifier from Asia/Pacific, with a few training sessions set to be hosted at the Stade Félix Mayol, while they will be based in Paris for the week in the build-up to their match against Ireland.

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The Springboks will spend 28 days in Toulon setting up base at Grand Hotel Des Sablettes-Page, which is a swift 24 minute journey from the RCT training base. It will be a bus man’s holiday for second row Eben Etzebeth, who coming to the end of his time at RCT this season.

“The facility is excellent, housing a high-performance gym, and indoor synthetic pitch, outdoor pitch, fixed cameras to assist with our technical analysis, recovery facilities as well as a fully equipped kitchen and dining area.

“So, in a sense it is a one-stop shop providing everything we need to ensure that our training sessions are as efficient as possible. With 18 months to go before the Rugby World Cup kicks off, this announcement has certainly added to the excitement about the journey ahead.”

“We trained in Paris for a week before our year-end tour last season, so we have a good idea of what to expect in the country’s capital for the week leading up to the Ireland pool match and the final stages of the competition depending on our progress in the Rugby World Cup.

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“For now, however, our focus remains on the season ahead, and every match we play will be vital in our preparation for the Rugby World Cup. We are currently putting the building blocks in place to get the season off to a strong start, and we intend to make the most of each opportunity on the field as we look ahead to next year’s showpiece.”

Pending their progress in the global spectacle, the Boks will switch their base to Paris for the remainder of the tournament, as two quarter-finals, the semi-finals and final will play out nearby at Stade de France.

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