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Ireland to face defending champions South Africa in Paris as World Cup fixtures released


Andy Farrell will be preparing his team to face South Africa in Paris

Andy Farrell will be preparing his team to face South Africa in Paris

�INPHO/Billy Stickland

Andy Farrell will be preparing his team to face South Africa in Paris

If Ireland are to have a successful 2023 World Cup, they will have to become intimately familiar with the Stade de France.

The Saint-Denis venue - home of Johnny Sexton's famed 'Le Drop' in 2018 - will play host to the side's key Pool B clashes against both world champions South Africa and Six Nations rivals Scotland, as well as any knockout games the team will play.

The 10th edition of the tournament - at which Ireland have painfully still never gone beyond the quarter-finals - will begin at the same stadium with a blockbuster clash as New Zealand and hosts France go head-to-head on Friday, September 8, 2023.

Two of the favourites for the competition at this early stage, Ireland know too that should they advance to the last-eight, it will likely be one of this pair that they'll face with Italy the other known team in Pool A.

If that fixture ensures the competition will start with a bang, Ireland's own tournament is more of a soft launch.

Opening in Bordeaux - where the 2007 World Cup squad had such an infamously torrid time - one day later, the opposition will be against a yet-to-qualify side from Europe, although likely to be Russia.

A week later and it's on to Nantes to face a side likely to be either Samoa or Tonga before moving to Paris for the remainder of their involvement.

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In a departure from previous tournaments, there will be larger squad sizes of 33 players and more built-in rest periods between games in order to increase player welfare.

As such, Ireland will have a down week in between what figure to be the key games of their campaign with two weeks separating their Stade de France meeting against the Springboks and a clash with Scotland for a second tournament in succession at the same stadium.

The final will also be played in the capital on Saturday, October 28 with tournament organisers confirming that they will announce ticketing details for the competition next Thursday (March 4).

Ireland fixtures at 2023 Rugby World Cup

Saturday, September 9, 2023: Ireland v Europe 2, Stade de Bordeaux.

Saturday, September 16, 2023: Ireland v Asia/Pacific 1, Stade de la Beaujoire.

Saturday, September 23, 2023: Ireland v South Africa, Stade de France.

Saturday October 7, 2023: Ireland v Scotland, Stade de France.

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