Your guide to the nine host stadiums at Rugby World Cup 2023
Preparations for the host Rugby World Cup 2023 are in full swing in 10 cities across France.
The RWC 2023 Draw was made that game schedule has been announced and each of the qualified teams and their fans now know exactly where they will be during the pool phase and possibly beyond.
With that in mind, we thought we’d give you the opportunity to explore each of the nine stadiums as they prepare to open their doors for the bicentennial rugby celebrations.
Bordeaux Stadium, Bordeaux
The Stade de Bordeaux, home of the city’s Ligue 1 football club, opened in May 2015, less than two weeks before the semi-finals of this year’s top 14 play-offs took place.
Rugby returned to the venue in June 2019 when 42,071 fans filled the stands to watch Stade Toulousain take on Stade Rochelais in the Top 14 semi-finals.
The Stade de Bordeaux played five games during the UEFA Euro 2016 and hosted the French national football team and the Coupe de la Ligue final.
Fiji, Ireland, South Africa and Wales are already playing in Bordeaux during RWC 2023 as the futuristic stadium prepares for five games.
Visiting fans, regardless of whether they are a Follow My Team package or a Bordeaux packcan expect a relaxing stay in the wine capital of the world.
Away from the vineyards, Bordeaux is a World Heritage Site and offers a stunning mix of food, culture and architecture.
Pierre Mauroy Stadium, Lille
The Stade Pierre Mauroy was built in August 2012 as the home ground for Lille OSC and was home to its first rugby match three months later when France beat Argentina 39-22.
Lille was the host city during the 1991 Rugby World Cup when New Zealand’s quarter-final victory over Canada was played at the nearby Stade du Nord.
The refined design of the stadium that hosted the UEFA Euro 2016 matches makes it easy to configure it for other events, as one half of the pitch can be raised to slide over the other.
As a result, the Stade Pierre Mauroy hosted three Davis Cup finals, the knockout phase of the Euro Basket 2015 and several top-class music concerts.
Five RWC 2023 pool games are planned at the stadium, with hosts France, England and Scotland spending time in the northern city.
Parc OL, Lyon
Olympique Lyonnais’ home, opened in January 2016, has since hosted a number of international events, including rugby.
The Parc OL had only been open for four months when the finals of the European Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup were held in the new stadium.
In November 2017, a France XV was beaten 28:23 by New Zealand in front of 58,607 fans. At the end of this season, Parc OL was selected as the venue for the Top 14 semi-finals.
The city now has a rich rugby pedigree. In the Stade de Gerland the RWC 2007 games took place, while Lyon OU, a two-time French championship club, is represented in the city.
The Parc OL was the venue for both the UEFA Euro 2016 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019. The Coupe de la Ligue final and the UEFA Europa League final were also played on the hybrid turf.
Wales and Australia are expected to face each other in the stadium’s first RWC 2023 game. With hosts France, Italy and New Zealand also traveling through Lyon, fans should get their money’s worth with tickets to Lyon.
Stade Velodrome, Marseille
The Stade Vélodrome is a historic stadium that has been renovated three times since it opened in 1937. Two quarter-finals took place at RWC 2007.
The stadium was the home of Ligue 1 team Olympique de Marseille and hosted the 1938 and 1998 FIFA World Cups. On November 18, 2000, the first friendly took place in which France beat New Zealand 42-33.
Since then, Les Bleus has taken another 11 tests at the iconic venue, winning nine and losing twice – to Argentina in 2004 and the All Blacks in 2009.
On April 18, 2009, RC Toulonnais played its home game in the top 14 against Stade Toulousain in front of 57,039 fans and has returned several times since then.
Located on the shores of the Mediterranean, Marseille is a historic port city that gives fans the chance to explore away from rugby.
Beaujoire Stadium, Nantes
The Stade de la Beaujoire hosted one of the most iconic matches of the rugby World Cup when Fiji took on four attempts beat Wales 38-34 and book your place in the quarterfinals.
It was the last of three games the stadium hosted during RWC 2007. England defeated Samoa and a happier memory for Wales fans, a 42-17 loss to Canada.
The stadium first hosted a test on November 15, 1986, when France beat New Zealand 16-3 and Les Bleus played another six matches on site. The last of these was a 34-12 loss to Fiji on November 13, 2010.
Opened in 1984, the Stade de la Beaujoire is home to Ligue 1 team FC Nantes and has also hosted UEFA Euro 1984 and the 1998 FIFA World Cup, including Brazil’s 3-2 victory over Denmark in the quarter-finals.
Four games are planned at the Stade de la Beaujoire. Japan’s meeting with Argentina on the last day of the pool stage is the highlight for fans in town.
Nice stadium, nice
The Stade de Nice is home to Ligue 1 club OGC Nice and another venue for RWC 2023, which also hosted games during the UEFA Euro 2016 and the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019.
The stadium hosted its only test to date on August 17, 2019, when Maxime Médard scored two attempts to give France a 32-3 win over Scotland. RC Toulonnais has also played a few top 14 home games at the stadium.
The Stade de Nice is expected to host four games during RWC 2023, with Wales, England, Japan, Italy and Scotland being among the teams that will play on its manicured turf.
England’s match against Japan on September 17, 2023 promises to be one not to be missed as Eddie Jones takes on the team he coached at RWC 2015.
The hotel is located on the Cote d’Azur, west of Monaco. In between games, fans can do a lot, from relaxing on the beaches to soaking up the local art scene and eating Niçoise-style food.
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
The French national stadium, built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, has also been the home of the country’s rugby team since then.
Les Bleus first played in Saint-Denis on February 7, 1998, as Philippe Bernat-Salles and the late Christophe Dominici both crossed the whitewash in a 24-17 defeat by England.
By the end of the Six Nations in 2021, 97 test matches for men will be played in the Stade de France – including an RWC quarter-final in 1999 and the final in France in 2007.
South Africa defeated England in both games and the Springboks will return to the iconic stadium to play Ireland on September 23, 2023 – the first time that game will be played at the Rugby World Cup.
A total of 10 games at RWC 2023 will be played in the Stade de France, including the delicious opening game between Les Bleus and the All Blacks, both semi-finals, the bronze final and the final.
Fans who have tickets to one of these games will of course have plenty to do apart from the action to visit the world’s leading museums, historical landmarks and much more in nearby Paris.
Geoffroy Guichard Stadium, Saint-Etienne
Stade Geoffroy Guichard, the oldest stadium chosen to host RWC 2023, opened on September 13, 1931 and has since been renovated three times, each time before it is used at a major football tournament.
France’s rugby players first used the stadium on November 24, 2001, when Les Bleus beat Fiji 77-10 in 12 attempts.
Six years later, Stade Geoffroy Guichard – named after the businessman who bought the property on which it was built – hosted three RWC 2007 pool games.
Scotland faced Portugal 56-10 and Italy 18-16 in two games, despite conceding the only attempt in the game.
Samoa and the US, meanwhile, were contesting a 46-point thriller and the former could return to the venue in 2023 if they qualify for the tournament as Oceania 1.
Four RWC 2023 games are planned for the Stade Geoffroy Guichard, with Australia, Argentina, Fiji and Italy guaranteed to play in the “City of Design”.
Toulouse Stadium, Toulouse
The Stadium de Toulouse was built to host the 1938 FIFA World Cup and has been renovated and hosted three times since when the global showcase of football returned to France 60 years later and again during UEFA Euro 2016.
The historic stadium has long been associated with rugby and has served as the home stadium for Stade Toulousain during the top 14 and European Cup matches.
France first played at the Stadium de Toulouse on December 15, 1963, when Les Bleus drew 6-6 against Romania.
Eleven years later, the stadium hosted a 13-4 win in South Africa against France, but Les Bleus had some happy moments in Toulouse too.
France beat the All Blacks at the Stadium de Toulouse twice, 18-13 in November 1977 and 22-15 in November 1995, when attempts by Jean-Luc Sadourny, Richard Dourthe and Philippe Saint-André helped defeat a New Zealand team including Jonah Lomu inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Les Bleus also took revenge on the Springboks in November 2009 when Vincent Clerc’s attempt in the first half helped the hosts to a 20-13 win.
At that time, four RWC 2007 games with hosts Fiji, Japan, Namibia, Portugal, Romania and New Zealand had been played at the Stadium de Toulouse.
Fiji, Japan and the All Blacks are guaranteed to return to Toulouse during RWC 2023, while Namibia could join them if they qualify as Africa 1.