The 2023 Rugby World Cup in France has been extended by one week to allow all teams at least five days of preparation before pool matches. Player squad sizes will also increase from 31 to 33, with the decisions designed to improve player-welfare standards.
“This is a landmark day for Rugby World Cup and the sport.” World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said. “As a rugby father, former player, fan and administrator, player welfare is at the very top of my agenda. This continued focus for a player-first decision reflects that commitment.”
“As a rugby father, former player, fan and administrator, player welfare is at the very top of my agenda. This continued focus for a player-first decision reflects that commitment,” he added. “Men’s Rugby World Cup schedules are difficult to balance owing to the format of four pools of five teams.”
“Japan 2019 provided the best balance and best-ever welfare outcomes, but we still had a limited number of relatively short rest periods between some matches.” he continued. “In collaboration with France 2023 and International Rugby Players, this decision means that every player and every team will have a fairer chance to perform to their potential in every fixture, and now we will work with the teams to reduce the overall load for players. Including travel.”