France is set to host the competition for the third time, having once hosted it in 1991 and 2007. The competition is expected to feature some of the world's top rugby sides and players, and it promises to be a thrilling and modest contest. There will be 20 partaking teams separated into four groups, and the top two squads from each pool will advance to the knockout stage of the RWC 2023.
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Several players could be signifying a second Test nation in France Rugby World Cup later this year. This year's world cup will be the first since World Rugby changed its aptness rules in 2021. That rule alteration has allowed test-capped players to signify a second nation that they are qualified for if they, their parents or their ancestors were born there, but only after a three-year stand-down period from test rugby.
The move, while not limited to Tier Two nations, will surely benefit nations that have seen qualified players opt to play for bigger, more wealthy nations. Exactly, the Pacific Islands have lost limitless players over the years with a similar rule change in rugby league ensuing in Tonga reaching the semi-final and final in the last two Rugby World Cups. As such, there are set to be several players in France this year who have played Test rugby for another nation.
The game-breaking Scarlets star earlier won 11 caps for New Zealand Rugby World Cup team between 2017 and 2019 before swapping to the state of his birth, Tonga, last year. He featured in rugby games against Spain, Chile and Uruguay last November and will surely feature heavily in world cup Group B later this year.
The Japan-bound full-back was once the highest-paid player in England, having moved to Europe after missing out on a room in New Zealand's 2015 Rugby World Cup squad. The 31-year-old won 17 caps for New Zealand but has now promised his loyalty to Tonga. He's won just one cap so far, counter to Fiji last year, and will be hoping for a first world cup presence later on in the year.
Like Piutau, the debated Folau made his Tonga entrance against Fiji last year. However, he left minutes early through injury and has yet to win a second cap. Before his second go at Test rugby though, Folau had won 73 caps for the Australia Rugby World Cup side between 2013 and 2019. His Wallabies career came to an abrupt end after he was dismissed for writing homophobic posts on social media.
The recently called-up Wales tight-head won seven caps for England nearly an era ago. Having won his first two caps on the 2013 summer trip to Argentina, he then made entrances against Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Italy and New Zealand rugby teams the following year. However, England’s presence dried up, but he succeeds in Wales Rugby World Cup through his father.
The Clermont centre won four caps for New Zealand Rugby World Cup while with the Auckland Blues in 2015 and 2016, recording three tries including one against the Wales rugby team in a heavy 46-6 victory. Last year saw him selected to play for Tonga, whom he had played for at the age-grade level. Like Fifita, he made his introduction in the autumn against Spain’s rugby side. Rugby fans can book RWC Tickets on our website at exclusively discounted prices.
Likely to be Moala's midfield companion in France this year is RWC winner Fekitoa, who won 25 caps for New Zealand between 2014 and 2017 before moving to Europe, spending time at Toulon, Wasps and Munster. Having served the fixed stand-down period, Fekitoa changed their loyalty to Tonga, the nation of his birth. He initially signified them at an Olympics 7s qualifier in 2021 before going on to play Test XVs last year.
The ex-New Zealand U20s prop suffered some eligibility drama when Tonga tried to cap him against New Zealand in 2021. However, he had to be pulled from the side the day before as he had already been capped by Hong Kong. That's no longer a problem now with the RWC 2023 rule changes, with Koloamatangi making his Tonga debut against Spain last year.
The 33-year-old scrum-half won two caps for the New Zealand rugby side back in 2014, after being a part of the Chiefs' Super Rugby-winning side. Now plying his skill in Japan with Hino Red Dolphins rugby club, he made his debut for Tonga last autumn. This year at France Rugby World Cup 2023 we can see him with the Tonga world cup squad.
The centre won a trickle of New Zealand caps during his time with the Chiefs and Crusaders in Super Rugby, with the last of them coming against Australia in 2016. Now 31 and playing for Toshiba Brave Lupus, he bent out for Fiji last year making his introduction in the 36-0 win over Tonga in the Pacific Nations Cup.Seta Tamanivalu is confident to represent his nation at RWC 2023.
Former New Zealand won 15 caps for the New Zealand rugby side between 2013 and 2016, having been part of the U20s side that won the Junior World Competitions in 2010 and 2011. Before that though, he did also signify Samoa at age-grade level and that's who he's set to resume his Test profession with. That first cap for Samoa Rugby World Cup side will surely come later this year, though.
The tight-head prop accomplished just one appearance for New Zealand, making his entrance against Japan in 2013. Another cap never came his way, despite plenty of good Super Rugby form and the odd squad place. Now at Ulster, he was called into Samoa's autumn squad alongside Luatua last year, making his introduction against Italy Rugby World Cup side.
The former Waratahs back-row won 14 caps for Australia RWC between 2017 and 2019, making the last of his arrivals in the pool stages of the last Rugby World Cup in Japan. Four years on, he'll be heading back into the showpiece competition playing for a diverse nation, having already won nine caps since swapping to Scotland. He's a part of Gregor Townsend's 42-man training team and will be well-placed to make the final selection, given his form for Glasgow.
The Namibian-born winger won 10 caps for Scotland’s rugby side between 2017 and 2020. He's set to retire from playing this year before taking up a coaching role at his current rugby club Sale Sharks. However, he has also publicised his intention to play for the nation of his birth meaning he could finish his career at the France Rugby World Cup.
Strictly, the Stade Francais back hasn't wanted the suitability rules to switch nations, as the new Italy call-up hasn't been capped by England. In its place, the former Wasps man was once called in to train when Eddie Jones was in charge of the Rugby World Cup squad, but crucially he didn't play a game.
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