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2023 World Cup: great players to watch out for in the tournament

The 2023 Rugby World Cup is approaching, and everything that happens between now and then will be viewed in the context of the competition.

While England and Wales reorganize under new coaches in an effort to strike the perfect notes in the lead-up to the fall festival of rugby, the Six Nations will act as a check up before the World Cup.

South Africa, the 2019 champions, will be motivated to retain their championship, although a spate of notable losses over the last year indicate that this tournament may be closely contested. Since last July, Wales, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and France have defeated the Springboks. This is an open competition, and any number of countries are expecting to win.

France will host the 2023 World Cup at nine locations around the nation from September 8 to October 28, 2023. In the municipality of Saint-Denis, north of Paris, the Stade de France will host both the opening game and the final. The competition will take place in the 200th year since William Webb Ellis invented the sport.

The tournament was initially planned to last the customary six weeks, but on February 23, 2021, World Rugby added an additional week to account for the extra rest day necessary for player health. With a minimum of five rest days between each match, teams will be able to heal and prepare for the competition to the fullest.

France is the overwhelming favorite to win the championship for the first time in history, according to the top legal sportsbooks. The All Blacks are the second-favorite team and have good chances of bringing the trophy back to New Zealand. Furthermore, among the leading candidates for the 2023 World Cup are England, South Africa, and Ireland.

We felt it would be worthwhile to choose some of the players to watch out for in 2023 as the Rugby World Cup is just under seven months away. Without further ado, here is our pick of well-known individuals who each have their own unique experiences and goals for the upcoming months.


Sam Cane

Although New Zealand appears to be a much stronger team than it did at the start of the season, there are still some issues that need to be resolved before the Rugby World Cup. One of them is how to handle their captain—or at the very least, the player Ian Foster has always relied on to guide the squad while healthy. The flanker has missed the last two of seasons due to injury, but this season he has played in a lot of games and has not performed well.

A broken cheekbone therefore allowed someone else to enter the Autumn Nations Series, and Dalton Papali’i was given the responsibility for the shirt. The back-row for the Blues was absolutely exceptional; he shone in every game in which he participated and became a lock to win the World Cup shirt. With the confidence Foster and the selectors have in the 30-year-old and the fact that he has served as captain when available, there is still a niggling question that Cane will return.

Hence, it will be interesting to observe what happens over the coming several months. Cane will almost probably be part of the squad, but starting him over the outstanding Papali’i would be a significant decision. The fans, who fervently believe he is currently a player in decline, will be outraged if he does.


Quade Cooper

Although Quade Cooper is now injured and will be sidelined for much of 2023, Australia’s World Cup aspirations ultimately depend on his availability. They simply need to hope he is healthy enough to participate and, ideally, play in a couple international matches before that so he is up to speed going into the world championship.

None of those things are certain, which will worry Dave Rennie, who is under fire following a disappointing 2022. In Cooper’s absence, he was never able to find the solution at pivot, with Noah Lolesio and Bernard Foley both offering hints but failing to provide the solution the head coach sought.

One gets the impression that Cooper’s availability was a major concept behind Rennie’s ambitious scheme. It may not come as a surprise that Australia underperformed given that he only participated in one game all year, which resulted in him leaving the game with a catastrophic Achilles tendon injury.


Charles Ollivon

While Ollivon will play an equally important part for Les Bleus, Antoine Dupont is undoubtedly the team’s primary player because he controls pretty much everything they do with the ball. The scrum half was given the captaincy when the flanker’s injury kept him out of the Six Nations, and he performed a good job during the Grand Slam victory. As Dupont was rested, the back-row captained the squad during the Japan trip as Fabien Galthie’s side won the series 2-0.

Both Dupont and Ollivon were selected for the French team for the first time in 2022 at the Autumn Nations Series, but the former was assigned the leadership role. The latter took over against the Brave Blossoms in the last 2022 international after the half-back was ejected in the thrilling Springboks match, but it looks that the 2021 World Rugby Player of the Year will serve as captain going into the world championship.

With so much on the line, especially during a World Cup at home, having Ollivon’s leadership skills at his side will be crucial. As France played their November series, the flanker’s impact was already back in the group as the Toulon player assisted France in beating Australia and South Africa.


George Ford

You’d think that the confirmation of Steve Borthwick as England’s head coach would be a big plus for the 29-year-old playmaker. Ford played a significant role in the Leicester Tigers’ march to the Premiership title. He assisted the team in achieving a remarkable 20 victories in 24 games during the regular season and scored 22 points in the semi-final victory over Northampton Saints. Ford’s injury prevented him from making a meaningful contribution in the championship game, but Borthwick will never forget what he accomplished for his team.

The fly half’s contribution is more obvious when you examine how the Tigers have comparably fared without him. Ford, who has served as an assistant coach while on the sidelines, has brought that grasp of the game to Sale, where pivot Rob du Preez has benefited significantly.

Ford is unquestionably a better match than Marcus Smith for the game plan if England’s new manager uses similar arrangements with the national side.

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