The Springboks have selected Toulon as their base for the pool stages of the Rugby World Cup in 2023 in France, with the team set to be based in Paris for their third pool match against Ireland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.
The tournament kicks off on Friday 8 September and runs until Saturday, 28 October 2023. The defending RWC champions and current top-ranked team on the World Rugby rankings had a selection of three potential bases in the south of France.
Following a thorough inspection of the options by Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and the team’s head of operations Charles Wessels at the conclusion of the Boks’ November tour to the UK in 2021, a decision was made to select the city on the Mediterranean coast as their preferred base for the international extravaganza.
The Springboks will launch their title defence against Scotland (10 September) at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, before lining up against Spain at Stade de Bordeaux (17 September), Ireland at Stade de France in Saint-Denis (23 September) and the top qualifier from the Asia/Pacific region in Marseille (1 October) in the pool stages.
The Boks will use Toulon Rugby Club’s RCT campus as their main training field for the matches against Scotland, Spain and the qualifier from Asia/Pacific, with a few training sessions set to be hosted at the Stade Félix Mayol, while they will be based in Paris for the week in the build-up to their match against Ireland.
The Springboks will spend 28 days in Toulon setting up base at Grand Hotel Des Sablettes-Page, which is a swift 24 minute journey from the RCT training base.
Pending their progress in the global spectacle, the Boks will switch their base to Paris for the remainder of the tournament, as two quarter-finals, the semi-finals and final will play out nearby at Stade de France.
“Toulon Rugby Club’s RCT campus hosts some of the best training and team facilities in the regions we visited, and we are delighted with our selection with Toulon as our base for three of the pool matches in the round-robin stages of the competition,” said Nienaber.
“The facility is excellent, housing a high-performance gym, and indoor synthetic pitch, outdoor pitch, fixed cameras to assist with our technical analysis, recovery facilities as well as a fully equipped kitchen and dining area.
“So, in a sense it is a one-stop shop providing everything we need to ensure that our training sessions are as efficient as possible. With 18 months to go before the Rugby World Cup kicks off, this announcement has certainly added to the excitement about the journey ahead.”
Nienaber added: “We trained in Paris for a week before our year-end tour last season, so we have a good idea of what to expect in the country’s capital for the week leading up to the Ireland pool match and the final stages of the competition depending on our progress in the Rugby World Cup.
“For now, however, our focus remains on the season ahead, and every match we play will be vital in our preparation for the Rugby World Cup. We are currently putting the building blocks in place to get the season off to a strong start, and we intend to make the most of each opportunity on the field as we look ahead to next year’s showpiece.”
The Springboks will kick off their 2022 season with three Tests against Wales in Pretoria, Bloemfontein, and Cape Town on consecutive Saturdays, 2, 9 and 16 July, in the Castle Lager Incoming Series. South Africa will then host New Zealand in Nelspruit and Johannesburg (Saturday, 6 and 13 August) and Argentina in Durban (Saturday, 24 September) in their Castle Lager Rugby Championship home Tests.
The Boks will play two away Tests against Australia (Saturday, 27 August and 3 September respectively) and one against Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday, 17 September.
Rugby World Cup 2023 Pools:
Pool A: New Zealand, France, Italy, Uruguay, Africa 1
Pool B: South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Asia/Pacific 1 qualifier
Pool C: Wales, Australia, Fiji, Georgia, Final qualifier winner
Pool D: England, Japan, Argentina, Samoa, Americas 2