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Rugby World Cup Pool A preview: France and New Zealand to battle for top spot

Containing two of the favourites to go all the way at the 2023 World Cup, there will be plenty of interest in how Pool A plays out over the coming weeks.

Hosts France and three-time winners New Zealand both feature in this pool, which is the favourite at 20/21 to produce the overall winner of the competition this year. 

WhatPool A, 2023 Rugby World Cup
WhereVarious venues across France
WhenFriday 8th September - Friday 6th October, 2023
How to watchITV
OddsPool A - New Zealand 10/11, France 10/11, Italy 66/1, Namibia 1500/1, Uruguay 1500/1

France

A nation that has been runners-up at three previous World Cups, perhaps this is the year France finally get their hands on the elusive Webb Ellis Cup.

Losing finalists in 1987, 1999 and 2011, Les Bleus have dealt with their fair share of World Cup heartbreak over the years.

However, with a side packed with superstars from the Top14, there’s plenty of excitement about what this French side might be able to achieve this year.

It’s a mouthwatering start to Pool A and the tournament as the two heavyweights of the group go head-to-head at the Stade de France on Friday night.

France are the slight favourites at 10/11 to claim the victory in the 80 minutes in the capital, while New Zealand are available at 1/1 to spoil the party in Paris.  

Italy

You have to feel for any side featuring in Pool A outside of France and New Zealand as they all face a mighty battle on their hands to reach the quarter-finals.

Italy have shown some signs of progress in the Six Nations over recent years but are still behind the other five sides in the competition.

Capable of causing the odd upset in the Six Nations, the Azzurri will need to produce one of the greatest results in their history to stand a chance of finishing in the top two.

Italy, who should at least finish best of the rest behind France and New Zealand, begin their World Cup campaign with an encounter against Namibia on 9th September.

The Azzurri are 10/11 to win with a -31.5 Handicap for this clash in Saint-Etienne. 

Namibia

Ranked down at 21 in the world rankings, Namibia face a daunting task against the likes of France, New Zealand and Italy.

Namibia have been in the pool stages in six previous tournaments, but the African nation have never managed to reach the quarter-finals.

In such a difficult group, it’s hard to see the Welwitschias going past the pool stage this time, but they will be targeting games against the likes of Italy and Uruguay for upsets.

Namibia are 18/1 to stun Italy in their opening match of the World Cup in Saint-Etienne. 

New Zealand 

Once again the favourites going into the tournament, big things are expected of New Zealand heading into this World Cup.

New Zealand were given a shock last time out in a 35-7 defeat to South Africa at Twickenham in a warm-up game.

That result might have just given the All Blacks the shock they needed to focus minds after they cruised to the Rugby Championship title this year.

It will be interesting to see how they respond, and they can give their critics a timely reminder of their abilities if they can come out on top in the intriguing opener against France.

The winner of that opening match should have little trouble topping the group, with the All Blacks at 10/11 to top Pool A and France also at 10/11.  

Uruguay

Featuring at four previous World Cups, Uruguay are back and looking to cause some upsets at this upcoming tournament.

Uruguay secured one of the best results in their history in the last World Cup in 2019, as they secured a 30-27 win over Fiji in Japan.

Much like Italy and Namibia, Uruguay will be looking to finish best of the rest, with Les Bleus and the All Blacks set to dominate.

Pool A Fixtures

DateTeamTeamVenue
8th September 2023FranceNew ZealandStade de France, Saint-Denis
9th September 2023ItalyNamibiaStade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne
14th September 2023FranceUruguayStade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
15th September 2023New ZealandNamibiaAllianz Riviera, Nice
20th September 2023ItalyUruguayStade Velodrome, Marseille
21st September 2023FranceNamibiaParc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines-Charpieu
27th September 2023UruguayNamibiaParc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines-Charpieu
29th September 2023New ZealandItalyParc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines-Charpieu
5th October 2023New ZealandUruguayParc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines-Charpieu
6th October 2023FranceItalyParc Olympique Lyonnais, Decines-Charpieu

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