Scotland to kick-off 2023 World Cup campaign against champions South Africa

Final pool match against Ireland is likely to decide who progresses from Pool B into the quarter-finals

Finn Russell and Jesse Kriel exchange pleasantries when Scotland hosted South Africa in November 2018. Image: © Craig Watson -
Finn Russell and Jesse Kriel exchange pleasantries when Scotland hosted South Africa in November 2018. Image: © Craig Watson -

SCOTLAND will have to hit the ground running at the 2023 Rugby World Cup when they kick-off their campaign with an opening weekend clash against reigning champions South Africa in Marseille on Sunday 10th September. 

Gregor Townsend‘s men will then have a two-week break before facing the Asia/Pacific 1 qualifiers in Nice on Sunday 24th September, followed by the Europe 2 qualifier in Lille on Saturday 30th September.

If the tournament goes according to current form, the second qualifying spot from Pool B will then be decided in a winner-takes-all showdown against Ireland at Stade de France in Saint Denis (Paris) on Saturday 7th October.

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If they win the pool, they will return to Stade de France to face the runner-up of Pool A – containing New Zealand, France and Italy – on Saturday 14th October at the quarter-final stage. If they finish second, it is the same venue but a day later, against the winner of Pool A.

The semi-final on that side of the draw is at Stade de France on Friday 20th October, with the final is on Saturday 28th October.

Meanwhile, the tournament is certain to start with a bang when hosts France face New Zealand in the opening match at Stade de France on Friday 8th September.

Kick-off times for all 48 fixtures will be confirmed in due course, and ticketing details will be announced on 4th March.

Full draw:

Pool A

September 8: Stade de France – France v New Zealand

September 9: Saint-Etienne – Italy v Africa 1

September 14: Lille – France v America 1

September 15: Toulouse – New Zealand v Africa 1

September 20: Nice – Italy v America 1

September 21: Marseille – France v Africa 1

September 27: Lyon – America 1 v Africa 1

September 29: Lyon – New Zealand v Italy

October 5: Lyon – New Zealand v America 1

October 6: Lyon – France v Italy

Pool B

September 9: Bordeaux – Ireland v Europe 2

September 10: Marseille – South Africa v Scotland

September 16: Nantes – Ireland v Asia/Pacific 1

September 17: Bordeaux – South Africa v Europe 2

September 23: Stade de France – South Africa v Ireland

September 24: Nice – Scotland v Asia/Pacific 1

September 30: Lille – Scotland v Europe 2

October 1: Marseille – South Africa v Asia/Pacific 1

October 7: Stade de France – Ireland v Scotland

October 8: Lille – Asia/Pacific 1 v Europe 2

Pool C

September 9: Saint-Denis – Australia – Europe 1

September 10: Bordeaux – Wales v Fiji

September 16: Nice – Wales v Winner final qualifying round

September 17: Saint-Etienne – Australia v Fiji

September 23: Toulouse – Europe 1 v Winner final qualifying round

September 24: Lyon – Wales v Australia

September 30: Bordeaux – Fiji v Europe 1

October 1: Saint-Etienne – Australia v – Winner final qualifying round

October 7: Nantes – Wales v Europe 1

October 8: Toulouse – Fiji v Winner final qualifying round

Pool D

September 9: Marseille – England v Argentina

September 10: Toulouse – Japan v America 2

September 16: Bordeaux – Oceania 1 v America 2

September 17: Nice – England v Japan

September 22: Saint-Etienne – Argentina v Oceania 1

September 23: Lille – England v America 2

September 28: Toulouse – Japan v Oceania 1

September 30: Nantes – Argentina v America 2

October 7: Lille – England v Oceania 1

October 8: Nantes – Japan v Argentina


October 14: Marseille – Pool C winner v Pool D runner-up

October 14: Stade de France – Pool B winner v Pool A runner-up

October 15: Marseille – Pool D v Pool C runner-up

October 15: Stade de France – Pool A winner v Pool B runner-up


October 20: Stade de France – Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 2

October 21: Stade de France – Winner QF 3 v Winner QF 4

Third place play-off

October 27: Stade de France


October 28: Stade de France

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“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,” said World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont.  “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!”

France 2023 CEO, Claude Atcher added: “The France 2023 Organising Committee is very proud of the match schedule presented today with World Rugby. An increase in financial investment for the purpose of better player welfare is unprecedented in the history of major sporting events. This new match schedule format will also provide a more equitable platform for all teams involved. We are also very pleased that each of our nine host cities and regions will host at least one quarter-finalist from RWC 2019, meaning the tournament, and all it has to offer, will be accessible to the widest-possible audience across the country. With this in mind, we believe this match schedule can deliver the most competitive and entertaining Rugby World Cup ever held.”

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About David Barnes 3956 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including he Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.