2023: A rugby year not to be missed
Written by Nick Powell from The Rugby Paper
We are currently halfway through an enthralling Men’s Six Nations Championship, but that is only the first act of a year of international rugby that is likely to be remembered for decades to come.
The Women’s Six Nations gets underway on 25 March, and favourites England will be going for a fifth-consecutive title and back-to-back Grand Slams.
Having agonisingly lost in the World Cup final last year to New Zealand, The Red Roses will be fired up to get back to winning ways and have already sold 30,000 tickets for the likely title decider against France at Twickenham (29 April), the first standalone women’s game at the national stadium.
Once that has concluded, attention will turn back to domestic action as the English Premiership, United Rugby Championship and Heineken Champions Cup all conclude in May, as they move to an earlier than usual finish to give as much time as possible for international teams to prepare for the Rugby World Cup in France.
After warm-up games that include home and away clashes for England and Wales against one another, England also making a trip to world number one team Ireland, South Africa and New Zealand facing off at Twickenham and France hosting Australia, the tournament gets underway with France playing New Zealand in Paris on 8 September.
The two Pool A sides are the number one and two favourites for the competition respectively, whilst reigning champions South Africa as well as Ireland and Scotland are squeezed into an incredibly strong Pool B.
Wales and Australia re-ignite their classic World Cup rivalry in Pool C, as they did in the same pools in 2015 and 2019, with each side having beaten the other once in the two previous World Cups.
And England will face Argentina in Marseille – who beat them on their own soil for the first time in 16 years last Autumn – on 9 September in Pool D, with previous hosts Japan also in the group.
Paris and Marseille will also play host to what will perhaps be the most closely fought and highly anticipated quarter-finals in history on the 14 and 15 October, before the semi-finals take place on the following weekend, with the final on Saturday 28 October at 8pm.
With an exciting programme of rugby ahead, there is no better place to catch the action than at a local pub, with Young’s showing all the games throughout the year at over 200 sites across the country.