Scotland handed tough start as Rugby World Cup fixtures are revealed

Scotland will open their 2023 Rugby World Cup campaign against the holders, South Africa.

Scotland's final pool match at the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be against Ireland. The Irish beat the Scots at the 2019 tournament. Picture: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images
Scotland's final pool match at the 2023 Rugby World Cup will be against Ireland. The Irish beat the Scots at the 2019 tournament. Picture: Charly Triballeau/AFP via Getty Images

The Scots, who are drawn in Pool B for the tournament in France, will close their group phase games against Ireland.

In between they will play matches against two qualifiers yet to be determined.

The competition will kick-off with a blockbuster of a match between the host nation and three-time winners New Zealand at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday, September 8.

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Scotland’s match against the Springboks will take place in Marseille’s atmospheric Stade Velodrome on Sunday, September 10.

Gregor Townsend’s side will then have to wait two weeks until their next match, which is against an Asia/Pacific qualifier in Nice on September 24.

Next up for the Scots is a game against a Europe 2 qualifier at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille on Saturday, 30 September.

The match against Ireland, which is likely to be decisive in terms of who qualifies for the knockout phase, is scheduled for Saturday, 7 October in the Stade de France.

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The Irish will begin in Bordeaux, where they will play a European qualifier on September 9. Andy Farrell’s men face the Springboks in Paris on September 23.

England will start their World Cup campaign against Argentina in Marseille on Saturday, September 9.

After their Pool D opener against Los Pumas, Eddie Jones’ 2019 runners-up will take on Japan in Nice on September 17 before back-to-back games in Lille against qualifiers from the Americas and Oceania on September 23 and October 7 respectively.

Wales, meanwhile, begin their Pool C campaign against Fiji in Bordeaux on September 10 and take on two-time champions Australia in Lyon a fortnight later.

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Games will be played at nine venues across France.

The final – scheduled for Saturday, October 28 – the third-placed play-off, both semi-finals and two of the quarter-finals will be staged at the Stade de France.

Marseille will host the other two last-eight fixtures.

For the first time in the tournament’s history, all teams will have a minimum of five rest days between all matches and an increased squad size of 33 players in a bid to optimise recovery and preparation.

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All matches will be played between Wednesday and Sunday to maximise fan attendance and broadcast engagement.

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