All about rugby


What is rugby union?

Rugby union is played by more than 8.5 million male and female players in more than 121 countries. It is the most widespread and popular ‘code’ of rugby. In this sport, the strength of the group and the values of respect and solidarity are predominant. Team spirit and pulling together are the keys to a successful game! 

The values of rugby










When it all started...

Legend has it that in 1823 during a football match at Rugby School in England, one of the pupils, William Webb Ellis, picked up the ball with his hands and carried it over the opposition goal line, contravening the rules of football. 

The school headmaster, Thomas Arnold, then promoted this form of football in his school. 

This form of the game, together with the rules drawn up in Rugby, then spread to other schools, and the first clubs were founded outside educational institutions. 

The first French club was founded in 1872 in the town of Le Havre by British seafarers.

The Webb Ellis Cup


What is the Rugby World Cup?

It is a major international competition which takes place every four years over a two-month duration, bringing together the best 20 nations in the world. The last edition took place in 2019 in Japan, where South Africa ran out world champions. The winners receive the Webb Ellis Cup, in tribute to the founder of the sport. 

In 2023, France will be hosting the 10th edition. This is the second time that France is the organiser. 


Past winners

Since 1987 – the year of the first Rugby World Cup, won by New Zealand - four teams have won the tournament:

  • New Zealand: 3-time winners (1987; 2011; 2015) 
  • South Africa: 3-time winners (1995; 2007; 2019)
  • Australia: 2-time winners (1991; 1999)
  • England: won the tournament once (2003)


World Rugby Rankings: TOP 10


Host cities

Rugby World Cup France 2023 will be held from Friday 8 September to Saturday 28 October 2023.
10 cities have been designated to host the event in 9 stadiums : 


  • Lille : Stade Pierre Mauroy – 50,000 seats
  • Paris : Stade de France – 80,000 seats
  • Nantes : Stade de la Beaujoire – 37,500 seats
  • Lyon : Groupama Stadium – 59,000 seats
  • Saint-Etienne : Stade Geoffroy Guichard – 42,000 seats
  • Bordeaux : Stade de Bordeaux – 42,000 seats
  • Toulouse : Stadium de Toulouse – 33,000 seats
  • Nice : Stade de Nice – 35,000 seats
  • Marseille : Stade Vélodrome – 67,000 seats


List of qualified teams

1. South Africa : Defending Champions

2.  England

3. Argentina

4. Australia 

5. Scotland

6. Spain

7. Fiji

8. France

9. Georgia

10. Ireland

11. Italy

12. Japan

13. New-Zealand

14. Wales

15. Samoa

16. Uruguay





4 other teams are yet to qualify.


Composition of pools




Match schedule


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