As the Autumn Internationals draw to a close, and with it, England’s worst year since 2008, talk of 2023 Rugby World Cup glory may seem a bit premature. However, with England in Pool D and their opponents already revealed, a clear route to the final in Paris can be drawn.
Heading into the tournament on the search for some form, England fans now have reason to be optimistic with the pool stages nearly complete and a 100% record still in-tact following wins against Argentina, Japan and Chile.
Barring any major twists and turns in the remaining matches in Pool D, England will secure top spot in the group to set up a quarter final with the runners-up from Pool C.
After Wales’ statement 40-6 victory over Australia in that pool, they look to have secured top spot. That leaves Eddie Jones’ side are staring at elimination – meaning England will likely face Fiji in the last eight if they are able to record wins against the lower ranked Georgia and Portugal in their final pool matches.
Looking further ahead, should England get past an unpredictable Fiji side (or potentially Australia if they slip up) in the quarter-finals, they will likely face the winner of France – who look in control of Pool A – and South Africa in the semi-finals at the Stade de France.
There is cause for optimism for England fans, after being handed what many critics have described as a favourable draw to the knockout stages. England is joined in Pool D by Japan, Argentina, Samoa and Chile, who are making their first-ever appearance at the RWC.
In Band 2 were the hosts France, plus Australia, Japan and Ireland. Band 3 consisted of Scotland, Italy, Fiji and Argentina. Bands 4 and 5 were made up of qualifiers outside of the top 12 ranked teams.
Based on England’s possible opponents for the Pools, the draw is as close to the best-case scenario as possible. Eddie Jone’s side has managed to avoid France, the current bookie’s favourite and Ireland, the number one ranked team in the world at present. Based on rankings, Japan was the most favourable team to draw from Band 2, and England will be confident of getting a result against Argentina, who themselves are ranked 8th.
England’s first game is against Argentina, arguably their toughest rivals in the group, on Saturday, September 9, at 21:00 (local time) at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. The city, home to the largest port in France, is perfectly positioned on the Mediterranean coast and was a host city for the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2007 RWC.
For the second Pool game, the England team will travel east along the French Riviera to Nice, the capital of the Côte d’Azur region. The match kicks off on Sunday, September 17, at 21:00 (local time) at the Stade de Nice. With 300 days of sunshine on average per year, travelling fans will be able to enjoy some nice weather at the very least.
The final two Pool games both take place in Lille, close to the Belgian border at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. The first is against Chile on Saturday, September 23 at 17:45 (local time). England’s final Pool game before the knockout stages is against Samoa on Saturday, October 7 at 17:45 local time.
Barring any major shocks, England should make it out of the Pools, most likely as Pool winners.
If England finishes first in Pool D they will face the runners-up of Pool C, which, based on current world rankings is likely to be Wales (9th in the world). This quarter-final match will take place on Sunday, October 15 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille at 17:00 (local time).
Beyond the quarterfinals, all matches will take place at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris. The bookmakers currently have England as the fifth favourites to win the tournament behind host nation France, three-times-champions New Zealand, Grand-slam champions Ireland and title-holders South Africa.
Following England’s projected route as Pool winners, the red and whites will face France based on current rankings in the semi-final. That match will kick off Saturday, October 21, at 21:00 local time, at the Stade de France.
The final of the 2023 RWC is on Sunday, October 28 at 21:00 (local time) at the Stade de France. If all goes to plan, England’s opponents will be Ireland (based on current world rankings).
Should England finish second in the Pools, travel plans won’t have to be altered too much as the quarter-final contest, most likely against Australia will still be in Marseille at the Stade Vélodrome, although a day earlier on Saturday, October 14, at 17:00 (local time).
So there we have it, England’s projected route to the 2023 RWC final, via Marseille, Nice, Lille and finally Paris where the semi-finals and final will take place. Given England’s favourable draw in the group, it might be wise to make your travel arrangements for the knockout stages sooner rather than later, especially with the quarterfinals and semi-finals guaranteed to be in Marseille and Paris respectively.
You can secure official hospitality for all of the Rugby World Cup matches, including the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final.
We also have City Packs, where you can base yourself in one of the beautiful cities in France for a few matches during the tournament.
DAIMANI have appointed Engage as an Authorised Sales Agent in the UK, providing official hospitality for the Rugby World Cup France 2023.
Written by @BayleyCakes_
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