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A Guide to the Teams and Pools of the 2023 Rugby World Cup

For the third time, France is hosting the Rugby World Cup, and the 2023 edition is shaping up to be unlike any other. With a surprising turn of events in the world of rugby, the usual favourites like Australia and New Zealand have seen a dip in their standings. This has paved the way for European teams, particularly Ireland and France, to take the spotlight.

However, the Rugby World Cup has always been a tournament of uncertainties, where underdogs can rise and favourites can stumble. Here we take a look at the teams that have qualified for the 2023 tournament, their current form, past performances, and what they bring to the table. You can then head over to the sportsbook to start placing bets on which teams you think have the best chance of lifting the coveted Webb Ellis Cup.

Overview of Pools

In the Rugby World Cup, the initial competition format is a pool stage. For the 2023 edition, 20 teams have been divided into four pools, each containing five teams. The teams in each pool will play one match against every other team in their respective pool.

The criteria for advancing to the knockout stages are straightforward but challenging: the top two teams from each pool, based on match points, will proceed to the quarter-finals. Match points are accrued as follows: a win earns a team four points, a draw two points, and a loss zero points. Additionally, teams can earn ‘bonus’ points; one for scoring four or more tries in a match, and one for losing by seven or fewer points.

The pool stage serves as a crucial platform where teams lay down their markers for the rest of the tournament. It’s an arena for both reasserting traditional dominance and witnessing the rise of new rugby powers. The outcome is anyone’s guess, making the pool stage matches as thrilling as they are unpredictable.

Pool A: Teams and Analysis

The dynamics of Pool A suggest a mix of traditional rugby titans and emerging teams aiming to disrupt the status quo. While New Zealand and France are the obvious favourites to advance, Italy, Uruguay, and Namibia are not to be overlooked. Each team will bring their own unique style and strategy to the pitch, making Pool A one to watch closely.

New Zealand

The All Blacks, currently ranked third, are a rugby powerhouse known for their aggressive style of play and the intimidating haka. Recent struggles in the 2022 Rugby Championship have raised eyebrows, but it would be unwise to count them out. Their end game needs polishing, but with their legacy, they are still formidable contenders.


Ranked second and with the home advantage, Les Bleus are in a promising position. Despite having been to the final three times without lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, the French squad is optimistic. The passionate home crowd could be the X-factor that propels them into rugby history.


Ranked 14th, the Azzurri are the underdogs of this pool. However, recent improvements suggest they could make life difficult for more established teams. Their opening match against Namibia could serve as a confidence booster, setting the tone for their campaign.


Uruguay, ranking 17th, is more renowned for football than rugby. However, their aim is to secure third place in the pool, which would grant them automatic qualification for the next World Cup. They are a team in development but are increasingly well-rounded.


Namibia, the second lowest-ranked team in the tournament at 21st, has yet to win a match at the Rugby World Cup. Nevertheless, they bring a spirited performance to each game and should not be underestimated. They are the dark horses who may surprise with their level of play.

Pool B: Teams and Analysis

Pool B offers an intriguing mix of rugby pedigree and potential upsets. While South Africa and Ireland are the obvious favourites, Scotland, Tonga, and Romania are far from pushovers. Each match in this pool could be a decisive factor in who advances to the knockout stages, making every game a must-watch.

South Africa

As the defending champions and currently ranked fourth, the Springboks have experienced a rollercoaster of performances since their 2019 triumph. Coach Rassie Erasmus has assembled a squad that relies on sheer strength—a tactic that has proven successful in the past.


Currently holding the top spot in the world rankings, Ireland comes into the tournament with high expectations. Their defensive prowess and impeccable handling skills make them a formidable opponent. The team looks well-prepared, but the challenge will be to maintain their form throughout the tournament.


Ranked fifth, Scotland is a team that can never be taken lightly. Known for their fast-paced and hard-hitting style of play, they pose a significant threat to any team. However, advancing past the knockout rounds remains a challenge they have yet to overcome.


The lowest-ranked Pacific Island nation in the tournament at 15th, Tonga has the capacity to pull off surprise victories. Their relentless spirit and strong defence make them a team that can’t be taken lightly.


Currently ranked 19th, Romania is a team that has shown the ability to challenge and even beat higher-ranked European teams in the past. While they may struggle to advance past the pool stage, they are certainly capable of giving their opponents a tough match.

Pool C: Teams and Analysis

Pool C represents a captivating blend of established rugby nations and emerging challengers. While Wales and Australia are the conventional picks for advancement, the likes of Fiji, Georgia, and Portugal will be keen to upset the apple cart. With each team bringing a distinct style and set of tactics, Pool C matches are set to be a highlight of the tournament’s early stages.


Currently ranked ninth, Wales is a team with a history of making it far in the tournament but falling short of ultimate victory. Their favourable pool placement could provide them with the momentum needed to reach the knockout stages with confidence.


Once a dominant force in rugby, Australia has seen a dip in performance lately and currently holds the seventh rank. They have two Rugby World Cup titles to their name, but recent struggles suggest that they’ll have a challenging path ahead in this tournament.


Entering the tournament ranked 13th, Fiji is a team that has managed to upset top-tier nations in the past. Their forward pack and seasoned team could pose a serious challenge to Wales and Australia, making their matches some of the most anticipated in the pool.


Ranked 11th, Georgia is a team on the rise. Known for their fearless and brutal style of play, they could be the dark horse of this pool. While they may not be favourites to advance, they will undoubtedly give their pool opponents a challenging 80 minutes.


This will be only the second Rugby World Cup appearance for Portugal, currently ranked 16th. While they may not be favourites, their recent improvements suggest they could be competitive, especially against similarly-ranked teams in their pool.

Pool D: Teams and Analysis

Pool D is a mix of traditional rugby nations and teams that have been making waves in recent years. While England is expected to lead the pack, Japan and Argentina are not far behind in terms of skill and strategy. Samoa and Chile will look to prove that rankings aren’t everything, aiming to cause a few upsets along the way.


Ranked sixth, England is the only team from the Northern Hemisphere to have ever lifted the Webb Ellis Cup. Despite a lacklustre performance in the Six Nations, they’re expected to dominate their pool and potentially give Australia a run for their money in the quarter-finals.


The only Asian team in the tournament, Japan has become a disruptor in the rugby world, notably after their shock win over South Africa in 2015. They’re currently ranked 10th and bring a highly polished and skilful approach to the game.


Holding the eighth rank, Argentina has been a consistent performer on the international stage. Their third-place finish in the 2007 Rugby World Cup and strong performances in other tournaments make them a team that could go far.


Ranked 12th, Samoa is a Pacific Island nation known for their physicality and ability to secure wins over higher-ranked teams. They’ll likely offer stiff competition for second place in Pool D, making their matches crucial viewing.


The lowest-ranking team in the tournament at 22nd, Chile has already caused an upset by qualifying over the USA. Although they’re not expected to advance, their participation helps grow the sport in an underrepresented continent.

Back Your Favourite Teams at

As we approach the highly anticipated 2023 Rugby World Cup, the stage is set for a tournament packed full of competition and potential upsets. From traditional powerhouses to rising stars, each pool offers its own set of compelling storylines. Teams like Ireland and France are sitting at the top of their game, while nations such as Japan and Georgia look poised to disrupt the traditional rugby hierarchy.

Whether you plan to attend the matches or watch from the comfort of your home, the 2023 Rugby World Cup promises to be an unforgettable seven weeks of world-class rugby action. For those looking to add an extra layer of excitement to the tournament, why not put your newfound knowledge to the test? Head over to the sportsbook to place your bets on the teams you think will shine in this year’s World Cup.

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