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<p>(Planet Rugby)</p>
(Planet Rugby)

Rugby World Cup Underway in France

The 2023 Rugby World Cup kicked off last weekend in various cities across the host nation of France. 20 teams from around the globe are competing to be crowned rugby champion of the world. South Africa will seek to defend their crown as champions, after their dominating 32-12 victory over England in 2019.

Held every four years, the Rugby World Cup is the sport's biggest competition. The tournament is split into four pools of five teams. The top two teams with the highest points in each pool advance to the knockout stage. “The eight qualifiers for the knockout stage must advance through quarter-finals, semi-finals, and final matches. The last team standing will win the highly prestigious Webb Ellis Cup, as well as the title of Rugby World Cup Champion.

The four favorites to win the tournament are Ireland, South Africa, New Zealand, and France. All teams have a great chance of being victorious this year. 

Victorious in 2019, South Africa will look to repeat their success this year. The three time champions have had success in France before, beating England in the 2007 World Cup final match played at the Stade de France in Paris. With arguably the deepest team in the tournament, the Springboks seek to become the first nation to win the event four times.

Ireland, the current top ranked team in the world, is in their best ever position to win their first Webb Ellis Cup. The country has previously struggled in World Cup play, never making it past the quarter-finals of the tournament. Now entering this tournament as world No. 1, the Irish will look to put an end to their World Cup woes, striving to become champions for the first time

New Zealand will also be hoping to put their name on the Webb Ellis Cup for a fourth time. The All Blacks always have a very strong World Cup team. Their incredible international success always makes them the team to beat in any competition they play in.

Playing on home soil, France has big expectations to deliver a World Cup victory to their fans. The French have been so close to victory in the past, making the final match three times but failing to win. With home field advantage, France is a heavy favorite to win it all this year.

Will South Africa or New Zealand win their fourth title? Or will a new champion be crowned? Rugby fans will hope to have their questions answered on October 28th, when the Webb Ellis Cup is lifted once again.

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