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Rugby World Cup 2023 Preview with Corinthian Sports

Get ready for Rugby World Cup 2023 with our ultimate tournament guide. We'll take an in-depth look at the squads and make our pick who'll win it all!

September 7, 2023

Rugby World Cup 2023 is here! Another edition of the sport’s greatest prize and Corinthian Sports has your RWC 2023 preview sorted. Perennial tournament ‘chokers’ head to France as favourites, while traditional powerhouses enter as underdogs. This is shaping up to be the most exciting World Cup yet, so grab a coffee or a beer (or both) for a look at all 20 teams, players to watch and our prediction on who’ll lift the Webb Ellis Cup on the 28th of October…

France – The hosts head into RWC 2023 as one of the favourites and deservedly so. Romain Ntamack is a huge injury loss, but with former World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont and kicking metronome Thomas Ramos, they’ll be looking to avenge their 2011 Final loss against the All Blacks in the mouth-watering opening fixture – and then go on to win it all in front of a buoyant home crowd.

New Zealand – The All Blacks aren’t familiar with the underdog tag, but they’ll have to get used to it. A few inconsistent Test windows, capped off with a record loss to South Africa last month, means departing coach Ian Foster and his men have their work cut out for them. The fly-half dilemma between Beauden Barrett and Richie Mo’unga remains uncertain, but winger Will Jordan is a certainty to finish among the tournament’s top try-scorers.

Italy – Former 6 Nations whipping-boys Italy have found a resurgence in recent years. Wins over Australia and Wales ensure The Azzurri head to France with high hopes, and an attacking brand of rugby to match. Fullback Ange Capuozzo is the face of the revolution and he’ll lead by example looking for another big scalp to take back to Rome.

Uruguay – 2019 Tournament darlings Uruguay are back on the big stage. While they may have lost that tag to their South American neighbours, Los Teros will fancy their chances against Namibia. Scrumhalf Santiago Arata was a catalyst in their second-ever World Cup win, and with him pulling the strings, they won’t have to wait another 16 years for their third.

Namibia – Still looking for a maiden Rugby World Cup win, Namibia have had their playing ranks boosted by changes to the eligibility laws and head to France with their best squad to date. Former Wallaby Richard Hardwick offers brute force to the pack, and centre Johan Deysel will be reaping the rewards of any front-foot ball. All eyes on the clash with Uruguay.

South Africa – The defending champions path to a repeat is simple: Top the “Group-of-Death”, then go win it all. Their tenacious, bruising forward-pack will lay foundations for the outside backs to finish off, headlined by 20-year-old Canaan Moodie. If they get through Ireland, little stands in the way of a record fourth Springbok World Cup win.

Ireland – Forget always the bridesmaids, never the bride – Ireland at World Cups haven’t even made the wedding party! Perennial underperformers, Andy Farrell’s men head into the tournament as World No.1, playing a physical, up-tempo brand of rugby. They are deserved favourites and will look to pair the Webb Ellis Cup with their recent 6 Nations Grand Slam. Adopted-Irish wingers James Lowe and Mack Hansen are two players to keep an eye on.

Tonga – As with all of the Pacific Island Nations, Tonga have greatly benefited from an influx of newly-eligible players. Former All Blacks Charles Piutau, Vaea Fifita and George Moala will give Ikale Tahi (The Sea Eagles) a much needed boost.  Underestimate them at your peril.

Scotland – Enjoying their best period of rugby seen in decades. Coach Gregor Townsend has his squad playing dynamic, high-level rugby, and coming off the back of a 3rd place finish in the 6 Nations, he’ll be hoping for higher in Group B. Causing a shock upset over either South Africa or Ireland remains the biggest question – but if they do, winger Darcy Graham will be at the forefront.

Romania – After missing the 2019 tournament due to an illegal players scandal, Romania are back at the Rugby World Cup. Their squad is littered with players from the French leagues, including 6’6 Agen lock, Adrian Motoc. Their clash with Tonga presents Stejarii (The Oaks) with their best chance of claiming a 7th World Cup group stage win.

Australia – Australia head to France in the midst of a rebuild. New coach Eddie Jones has cleaned house, with stalwarts Michael Hooper and Quade Cooper not on the plane. The new breed is spearheaded by vice-captain Tate McDermott, whose ruck-speed rivals that of established scrum halves years his senior. Consistency over 80-minutes will be key, but The Wallabies will fancy their chances of at least a Quarter Final finish.

Fiji – The Flying Fijians came, saw and conquered Twickenham last month and head to France with even more spring in their step. With majority of their squad playing Top-14 or Super Rugby, they will be looking to cause a few more upsets in the coming weeks. Seven’s success hasn’t yet translated into the 15-man game, but Fiji possess the raw talent to do some damage at RWC 2023, led by captain Levani Botia.

Wales – It’s a sense of déjà vu for Wales. Again having Australia and Fiji in their World Cup group, again heading in after a sub-par 6 Nations. Returning coach Warren Gatland is back after a stint in NZ and will be looking to go further than their 4th placed finish in 2019. Fullback Louis Rees-Zammit and backrow Christ Tshiunza will be looking to lead the Welsh to exactly that.

Georgia – This tournament is as good as any for Georgia to stamp their authority on the rugby world. Whispers of a inclusion into the 6 Nations have rumbled on for years now, and a few big performances will have many Welsh and Italian fans looking over their shoulder. Gloucester centre Giorgi Kveseladze spearheads an exciting backline.

Portugal – Portugal seem to like a Rugby World Cup in France. After a dramatic qualifying draw with the USA, they are heading to their second ever tournament (first was in 2007, also hosted in France). Os Lobos are vying to be every fan’s second favourite team, and cult-hero fullback Nuno Sousa Guedes, who played club rugby in Australia, might just be their second favourite player too.

England – Can you think of an English World Cup campaign with less excitement? A shock loss to Fiji, fourth in the 6 Nations and captain Owen Farrell suspended for the first few games – this isn’t what Steve Borthwick signed up for. On paper, this team should be finishing no lower than the semi finals, but their Group D rivals smell blood in the water. Maro Itjoe and Freddie Steward will be among those trying to make sure another group stage exit isn’t on the cards.

Japan – The 2019 hosts put on a show last time out, both on and off the field. Topping a group that featured Ireland and Scotland was a huge achievement, springboarded by their win over South Africa in 2015. If there is to be another big shock at RWC 2023, Japan will be firmly in the mix. Winger Kataro Matsushima will be looking to top the 5 tries he scored four years ago.

Argentina – Los Pumas head back to a French World Cup looking to improve on their 3rd place finish in 2007. Much has changed since then, inclusion into the Rugby Championship (and subsequent wins over Australia, South Africa and New Zealand) have put Argentine rugby firmly on the map. They’ll look to top the group, aided by their dominant scrum, precise kicking game and try-scoring prop (yes prop!) Thomas Gallo.

Samoa – Like Tonga, Samoa has greatly benefitted from the new eligibility rules. Perhaps undervalued as a rugby nation, former All Blacks Lima Sopoaga, Steven Luatua and Jordan Taufua will look to change that narrative. They’ll use Fiji’s recent win over England as a roadmap to qualify for the quarter finals.

Chile – As tournament debutants, Chile won’t be looking to the knockout stages, they’ll be looking to entertain. A 52-51 win over the US secured qualification, and if that’s anything to go by: games will be high scoring when Chile are involved. Captain Martin Sigren will lead Los Condores into history, and into the hearts of rugby fans.

The knockout stages will serve up a feast of rugby action. Although France and South Africa have strong cases, we’re predicting IRELAND to claim their maiden Rugby World Cup win with a victory over the All Blacks. Check back in on the 28th of October and see how we did…

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