After a successful Six Nations tournament, French rugby heads for the World Cup at home
Frenchman Antoine Dupont. AP - Francois Mori
Text by: Farid Achache Follow
A year after achieving the Grand Slam, the France finished in second place at the Six Nations Tournament. The Blues now have the World Cup at home in mind.
Fabien Galthié's players, who have won four Six Nations tournaments, including one at Twickenham, will be supported by an entire country during the World Cup, which begins on September 8 and ends on October 28.
For this tenth edition, France was chosen for the second time after 2007. Nine cities will share the 48 matches of the competition and the 2.5 million tickets have all been sold.
The World Cup lasts 51 days, and we want it to be 51 days of popular celebration in all our territories. " said Jacques Rivoal, president of the organizing committee, who estimates that the France and the host cities will benefit from two billion in expected economic benefits. About 600,000 foreign visitors will be at the rendezvous of the World Cup.
A "rugby village" in Paris
If Paris does not have a stadium that will host the matches of the World Cup (the Stade de France is in Saint-Denis), the French capital will host a "rugby village" on the Place de la Concorde that will be able to accommodate about 10,000 people around several spaces.
The village will be open during the competition on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as Thursdays when the France team plays. "It's going to be a prestigious venue during this major event in world sport. La Concorde is an emblematic place," says Pierre Rabadan, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of sport. In this "free" space, two giant screens will allow fans who do not have tickets to attend matches with friends. The "rugby village" will include a stage, a rugby field and a wheelchair rugby field. "It's a particularly iconic place, which will attract a lot of people," says Julien Collette, CEO of France 2023, who anticipates "40% of foreign visitors" during the event.
« Rugby conveys modern values »
With the World Cup in France, rugby should experience a new boom in terms of notoriety and practitioners. As of December 31, 2021, the number of French men and women playing rugby, both in competition and leisure, was 244,043. The number of licensees at the French Rugby Federation has returned to its pre-Covid-19 level. The number of young people enrolled in rugby schools jumped by 16.90%, and women's rugby increased by 22.12%.
Rugby conveys modern values. This sport leaves its traditional territories and develops throughout the territory, as in Brittany, in the East, in the North, and even in the suburbs of Paris. Our society is facing different problems, there is a withdrawal into oneself, and rugby is a social link. The founding gesture of rugby is the pass. And the pass is the feminine of the word not. To take one step is to go towards the other. Rugby is the ultimate team sport. And people feel it. That's why they like to party," says Jacques Rivoal. He concluded: "Rugby remains one of the only sports where spectators are not separated in the stadium. The social bond of rugby is exceptional.»
20 countries divided into 4 pools
The 2023 World Cup will therefore be composed of 20 countries divided into 4 pools:
- Group A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Uruguay, Namibia.
- Group B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Tonga, Romania.
- Group C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Portugal.
- Group D: England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa, Chile.
The opening match will take place at the Stade de France with a poster that will pit France against New Zealand.
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- Rugby World Cup 2023
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