World Rugby 'in great shape' before France 2023

Paris (AFP) –


World Rugby chief executive Alan Gilpin told AFP on Monday the organisation of the next World Cup in two years' time is in "great shape" with over a million tickets already sold.

France will host the showpiece event starting in September 2023 and almost half of the 2.6 million tickets available have already been bought despite the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"We're in great shape with two years to go. I think we couldn't have asked to be in a better place," Gilpin said as French company Capgemini were announced as tournament sponsor.

"To sell a million tickets two years out from a World Cup shows you the excitement there is.

"A lot of those tickets were brought by people from outside France so it goes to show the excitement there. Now we have to deliver on that," he added.

Les Bleus will face three-time winners New Zealand in the opening game on September 8, 2023 at the 80,000-capacity Stade de France.

Fabien Galthie's hosts claimed a first away win over Australia in more than 30 years in July without the likes of half-backs Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack due to their club commitments.

The All Blacks beat the Wallabies 38-21 on Sunday to secure the Bledisloe Cup for a 19th straight year.

"I suppose if you ask their coaches they might not want it," World Rugby chairman and former England captain Bill Beaumont told AFP.

"It's going to start with a bang, two top teams playing and that will give the massive first weekend some impetus.

"From my point of view, looking at it from a sporting aspect, the pot's boiling.

"New Zealand are always going to be strong and France had a really good series in Australia without their first-choice players," he added.