Almanac Rugby Union: 2023 Rugby World Cup preview


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The Rugby World Cup will take place in France this year. Les Bleus have made it to three finals out of the nine tournaments so far. While yet to claim the William Webb Ellis trophy, they are serious contenders this year.

The Irish, who have never made it beyond the quarter-final stage, are the number one team in the world and to say they are chomping at the bit to have a crack would be an understatement.

Rounding out the quartet of most likely, we have the two most successful teams – the All Blacks and the Springboks. Each has won three titles, with the Wallabies on two and the English with that famous 2003 win in Sydney.

The Wallabies, under the messianic Eddie Jones, have lost all four Tests this year. They have one more hit-out against the French before their opening pool match against Georgia on September 9th. Australian fans are hoping Eddie’s track record of success in World Cup campaigns will be continued this year. He has picked a youthful squad, omitting talismanic figures like Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper. On behalf of all fans, I salute these two giants for their service over so many years.

The Springboks also gave us a fair share of surprises with their squad. The omission of Handre Pollard has got tongues wagging, but the door has been left ajar for his late inclusion if other squad members get injured in the match against the All Blacks at Twickenham in the final warmup game.

Owen Farrell has been a naughty boy again, so the English captain may miss a chunk of the Cup. That will certainly unsettle the Poms in their preparation, although their pool, like ours, is viewed as the least difficult. The pool with Ireland, South Africa and Scotland is the one piquing the most interest as the plucky Scots have been in great form lately. Their two-Test hit-out with the French produced some sparkling rugby.

As I stated earlier, the bookies see it as a four-horse race. I tend to agree. The Wallabies and/or the English may produce a miracle and get to the last four, but the Boks, ABs, French, and Irish are on a different plane at the moment.

Finally, I’d like to note the achievements of the smaller nations. Chile is making its debut and for Portugal, it is just their second appearance. The Pacific Island teams (Fiji, Tonga, Samoa) are always good fun and I’ve had an eye out for Georgia for many years. I really hope they have a crack, but not against the Wallabies of course.

So strap yourselves in for a feast throughout September and October. Unfortunately, a lot of the games will be on in the wee hours, but hey who needs sleep? Go Wallabies!


To see the full draw for the 2023 Rugby World Cup click here.


To read more about the organisation of the 2023 RWC click here.


To read more from Brian the Ruminator on The Footy Almanac click here.


To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.


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Grew up playing the rugby codes in suburban Sydney. Moved to Melbourne during the Carey era so becoming a Shinboner was the natural call. Still love the game they play in heaven. Took an interest in MLB a few years back and have become infatuated with America's pastime.


  1. The upcoming Rugby World Cup in France promises intense competition! Les Bleus are strong contenders, the Irish are eager to break their quarter-final record, and the All Blacks and Springboks are ever-present powerhouses. Exciting to see smaller nations like Chile and Portugal making appearances. A thrilling tournament awaits, even if it means sacrificing some sleep! ???

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