Nienaber: Important milestone for planning

Coach Jacques Nienaber welcomed the confirmation of the 2023 RWC match dates and venues, which will see the Boks open their World Cup defence against Scotland in Marseille.

After facing Scotland on 10 September, the Boks will clash against a Europe 2 qualifier on 17 September in Bordeaux, followed by a big battle against Ireland on 23 September at Stade de France.

The pool stage schedule for South Africa will finish with a game against the Asia-Pacific 1 qualifier in Marseille.

‘Friday’s announcement is a very important milestone in our planning phase for the 2023 Rugby World Cup,’ explained Nienaber.

‘With the match dates and venues now confirmed, the coaching and management staff have a very clear idea of the overall squad preparations and logistics. For instance, the schedule gives clarity on the number of turnaround days between matches, which in turn will influence our player welfare strategy for the squad.

‘And because the game venues have been allocated, it means we can kick on with more intense planning around our logistic operations for items such as team base camps,’ added Nienaber.

In Scotland and Ireland, the Springboks face two of world rugby’s most formidable teams in the space of 13 days in the group phase, however, Nienaber cautioned that every match will be vital in the preliminary stage.

‘Like I said at the time of the draw, to be in the same pool as Ireland and Scotland will be a massive challenge, but to win the tournament, you have to be able to beat all the teams and we will be properly tested in the pool phases,’ said the Springbok coach.

‘The margin for error at any stage of the RWC is very small, so we will plan for every scenario, including a very tough last pools game against an Asian-Pacific qualifier which might be one of Samoa or Tonga.’

The 2023 RWC showpiece starts on Friday, 8 September and the final is scheduled for Saturday, 28 October 2023 in the French capital of Paris.

The Springboks’ 2023 RWC Pools schedule in France (kick-off times TBC):





Sunday 10 September

Springboks vs Scotland

Stade Vélodrome


Sunday 17 September

Springboks vs Europe 2

Stade de Bordeaux


Saturday 23 September

Springboks vs Ireland

Stade de France


Sunday 1 October

Springboks vs Asia-Pacific 1

Stade Vélodrome


 Tournament format

 Pool phase:

The pool phase will consist of a round robin in which each team shall play each other within the pool once. There will be 10 matches played in each pool, for a total of 40 matches in the pool phase of the tournament. 


The quarter finals will take place in Stade Velodrome in Marseille and Stade de France in Paris on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 October. Stade Velodrome will host QF1 and QF3, while Stade de France will host QF2 and QF4.

The sequence of play is as follows:

QF 1 – Winner Pool C v Runner up Pool D

QF 2 – Winner Pool B v Runner up Pool A

QF 3 – Winner Pool D v Runner up Pool C

QF 4 – Winner Pool A v Runner up Pool B

Teams winning quarter-final matches qualify for the semi-finals and teams losing quarter-final matches will be eliminated from the tournament.


The semi-final matches will be contested by knock-out matches in Stade de France on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 October, as follows:

SF 1 – Winner QF1 v Winner QF2

SF 2 – Winner QF3 v Winner QF4

The winners of the semi-final matches qualify for the Final, and the losers of the semi-final matches will contest the Bronze Final.

The Bronze Final and Final will be played at Stade de France on Friday 27 October and Saturday 28 October, respectively.

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Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo/Getty Images

Post by

Craig Lewis