Rugby World Cup 2023: Teams, Favourites, and Exciting Matchups Previewed

Sam Hayes
Rugby World Cup 2023: Teams, Favourites, and Exciting Matchups Previewed

The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France commences in September, with the 20 best sides in the world ready to go head to head. Held every 4 years, the Rugby World Cup presents the opportunity to pit the Northern Hemisphere powerhouses against their Southern Hemisphere counterparts and it promises to be an epic month of high-octane rugby in France.

South Africa are the defending champions, having prevailed impressively back in 2019, where they overcame England in a pulsating final. New Zealand remain the team to beat in world rugby and they will be raring to go again here in 2023, whilst Australia and Argentina also head up a strong looking Southern Hemisphere contingent.

Northern Hemisphere rugby is also enjoying a renaissance of sorts, with Ireland picking up the Six Nations Grand Slam in 2023, something that France did the year before and with Wales and Scotland sure to be up for the challenge too, there are plenty of countries vying for glory at the Rugby World Cup this year.

Here are some of the key runners and riders at the 2023 Rugby World Cup:

New Zealand

The All Blacks are a sporting powerhouse like no other and with three Rugby World Cup titles to their name, they are the joint most successful side in the competition’s history. They were undone by England in the semi-finals in 2019 and they will be out for revenge here in favourable conditions in France.

South Africa

Despite often flattering to deceive, South Africa also have three Rugby World Cup titles to their name, and they are the defending champions here in 2023. Getting a read as to where the Proteas are at is difficult, with no real form to speak of but they have a dangerous side, that always appear to raise their game when it matters most.


Two-time Rugby World Cup winners Australia are going through a transitional phase of sorts, but they will be eager to showcase their talents here in France. They have an awkward looking pool but completely discarding in Australia in any sporting vocation is always a dangerous game to play.


The exciting brand of  rugby being played by France has a nation expecting, ahead of hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Incredibly, France have never won the Rugby World Cup and how fitting it would be if they could get over the line, in front of their fans.


It has been 20 years since Jonny Wilkinson kicked the famous drop goal that earned England their only ever Rugby World Cup victory and how they would love to replicate that in 2023. Form heading into the tournament has been indifferent, but they are a side with the potential to produce some excellent performances.


Fresh off the back of a triumphant Six Nations Grand Slam, Ireland will start the 2023 Rugby World Cup as one of the heavy favourites for glory. Led by coach Andy Farrell, Irish rugby is in a really strong position and winning the tournament would be a huge step in the right direction for the boys in green.

Whilst there are plenty of exciting sides in the mix in France, each Pool promises to pose plenty of fascinating matchups:

Pool A

Hosts France and New Zealand headline what should be a fiery Pool A but both teams will be expecting to progress. Italy are an improving team and will be bang up for the challenge, whilst Namibia and Uruguay will present real physicality, but France and New Zealand should be booking their places in the last 8.

Pool B

There is an eclectic mix of sides in Pool B, with defending champions South Africa expected to be one of the sides to beat once more – alongside an exciting Irish team chasing a first World Cup. Scotland look set to challenge too, with two real unknown quantities in the form of Romania and Tonga completing the Pool.

Pool C

Australia will be the hot favourites to progress from Pool C, alongside a Wales side undergoing a real sense of transition. Georgia and Portugal will revel in the role of underdogs, putting European rugby on the map whilst perennial entertainers Fiji will be one of the teams to watch in an enthralling Pool C.

Pool D

2019 finalists England will be eager to put in some early performances in a tricky-looking Pool D, with their clash against Argentina the most eye-catching. Samoa are another eclectic side, beating anybody else on their day, whilst Chile and Japan have the potential to cause a shock or two too.

The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France promises to be a showcase of elite level rugby and it should be a fascinating month or so of action for rugby fans to fully indulge in.