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Boks start World Cup defence against Scotland

The Springboks during a training session.
The Springboks during a training session.

The Springboks will kick off the defence of their Rugby World Cup crown at the 2023 tournament on Sunday‚ September 10‚ 2023 against Scotland in the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

The defending champions are in Pool B alongside the Scots‚ who they will clash with for only the third time at the World Cup. The Springboks beat Scotland 46-29 in Edinburgh in 1999 and repeated the feat with a 34-16 win‚ again in pool action‚ in Newcastle in 2015.

A week after their opening 2023 World Cup match‚ the Springboks will line up for their second pool match on Sunday‚ September 17 against a yet to be determined opponent from Europe (Europe 2) at Stade de Bordeaux.

Six days later the Boks and Ireland will clash for the first time ever at a World Cup when they meet at Stade de France the scene of the South Africans’ memorable triumph over England in the 2007 final. Ireland have won three of their last five clashes with the Springboks.

The Boks return to Marseille for their last group match against an Asian-Pacific 1 qualifier in the Stade Velodrome on October 1. They are yet to play in the revamped Velodrome but they did clash with France in the old stadium in 2002.

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber welcomed the confirmation of the 2023 match dates and venues and said it will now give more direction in their advance planning for France.

“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.

With Scotland and Ireland in the same pool there will be little room for error for the defending champions. Although‚ they did make history at the last World Cup by losing a pool match (to New Zealand) before going unbeaten for the rest of the campaign en route to the crown.

“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 World Cup 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 World Cup starts on Friday‚ September and the final is scheduled for Saturday 8‚ with the final on October 28‚ 2023 in the French capital of Paris.

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

  • Sunday‚ September 10: Springboks vs Scotland‚ Stade Vélodrome‚ Marseille
  • Sunday‚ September 17: Springboks vs Europe 2‚ Stade de Bordeaux‚ Bordeaux
  • Saturday‚ September 23: Springboks vs Ireland‚ Stade de France‚ Saint-Denis
  • Sunday‚ October 1: Boks vs Asia Pacific1‚ Stade Vélodrome‚ Marseille