Scotland to kick off next Rugby World Cup campaign against South Africa

They might be in the dark about when they’ll next be playing in the current Six Nations tournament, but Scotland now know their first opponents in the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France two and a half years later.

By Darin Hutson
Friday, 26th February 2021, 5:23 pm
Scotland's Stuart Hogg being tackled by Schalk Burger of South Africa during their 2015 Rugby World Cup pool B match at St James's Park in Newcastle on October 3, 2015. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)
Scotland's Stuart Hogg being tackled by Schalk Burger of South Africa during their 2015 Rugby World Cup pool B match at St James's Park in Newcastle on October 3, 2015. (Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images)

Head coach Gregor Townsend’s Scottish side kick off their cup campaign against current world champions South Africa in the competition’s pool B.

They take on the Springboks at Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome on Sunday, September 10, 2023.

That will be the third time the two sides have come up against each other in the competition, the South Africans having won both previous meetings, 46-29 at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh in October 1999 and 34-16 at St James’s Park in Newcastle in October 2015.

Scotland's Darcy Graham being tackled during their 2019 Rugby World Cup pool-A match against Ireland at the International Stadium Yokohama in Japan on September 22, 2019. (Photo by Behrouz Mehri/AFP via Getty Images)

The Scots’ next matches after that are on Sunday, September 24, in Nice and on Saturday, September 30, in Lille against Asian/Pacific and European opponents yet to qualify.

Townsend’s team round off their pool fixtures in Paris against Ireland at the Stade de France on Saturday, October 7.

The Scots and Irish have only faced each other once before in the Rugby World Cup, in 2019 in Japan, the latter having won that match 27-3.

Galashiels-born Townsend said: “It’s great to have the fixtures announced, meaning that the tournament is edging closer.

Gregor Townsend at the Six Nations rugby union match between England and Scotland at Twickenham Stadium in London on February 6, 2021. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

“It doesn’t get any more exciting than facing the world champions in your opening game, but it is an opportunity I know our players will be keen to embrace.

“I’ve no doubt our fans, and players, will also relish the chance to be part of matches in some impressive stadiums across France, which all adds to the world cup experience.”

The 47-year-old, on Gala’s books as a senior from 1990 to 1995 and with the Border Reivers from 2005 to 2007, added: “We, of course, played Ireland at the last Rugby World Cup in Japan and the two sides know each other pretty well from our Guinness Six Nations encounters.

“Whoever qualifies for the remaining two spots in pool B will have quality, and we know that to win world cup matches, you have to be playing your best rugby throughout the duration of the competition.”

Scotland were due to face France in Paris this Sunday, February 28, in round three of the Six Nations but that game was called off yesterday, February 25, due to a coronavirus outbreak in the French camp and has yet to be rescheduled.

They play Ireland in round four of the tournament on Sunday, March 14, at Murrayfield.