Hosts France could meet Boks in World Cup 2023 pool
NEWS: Hosts France could face holders South Africa in the group stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after World Rugby announced changes to the seeding system.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, seeding levels for the tournament draw held on December 14 in Paris will be based on world rankings on January 1 2020 instead of after the end-of-year internationals as originally intended.
The Springboks are joined by three-time winners New Zealand, last year’s runners up England and Wales in the top group of sides.
Les Bleus, are with Ireland, Australia and 2019 home country Japan in the second pot while Scotland, Argentina, Italy and Fiji make up the third.
The fourth and fifth band will be made up from the eight qualifying nations which will be decided by November 2022.
The general manager of the 2023 Rugby World Cup France Claude Atcher was released from police custody last week after he was questioned alongside French rugby president and World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte as part of an investigation into suspicions of favouritism of Top 14 club Montpellier.
The bands as of January 1, 2020, are:
- Band 1: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales
- Band 2: Ireland, Australia, France, Japan
- Band 3: Scotland, Argentina, Fiji, Italy
- Band 4: Oceania 1, Europe 1, Americas 1, Asia / Pacific 1
- Band 5: Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Final Qualifier Winner
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The Draw is a key milestone on the journey to Rugby World Cup France 2023 and the time when the tournament truly comes to life for teams and players alike, enabling key operational elements to be undertaken such as venue allocation, optimal match schedule development and, of course, the ticketing programme.
“While COVID-19 means that, in the interests of fairness for all qualified teams, we have needed to draw a line under the rankings at the beginning of the year, everyone should appreciate that this is a unique time, we can’t delay, and we must continue to accelerate planning for what is going to be a truly spectacular and special Rugby World Cup 2023 in France.
“The RWC 2023 Draw will be a greatly anticipated beacon of hope and excitement as we look towards France 2023 and beyond the global pandemic.”
Atcher added: “As promised, the Rugby World Cup 2023 Draw will be organised as scheduled, which is great for teams and fans. Its organisation as planned is testimony to the hard work of everyone involved at the organising committee during the pandemic and will shine as a positive, shining light of confidence, hope and excitement. The Draw will give certainty to qualified teams, allowing them to prepare in the best possible conditions.”