During the pool stages of Rugby World Cup 2023 the 20 teams will play in four pools of five, with each team playing the other four in their pool. The top two teams in each pool will progress to the quarter-finals.
The four quarter-final winners will advance to the semi-finals with the two teams emerging victorious from that stage meeting in the final on 21 October to battle it out for the honour of adding their name to the coveted Webb Ellis Cup as Rugby World Cup 2023 champions.
The 20 teams were drawn into the four pools of five teams on 14 December, 2020 at the Palais Brongniart in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron in attendance at the official draw.
The teams had been seeded in five bands of four teams based on the World Rugby Men’s Rankings as of 1 January, 2020, with the 12 direct qualifiers filling the top three bands and the eight to be determined qualifiers completing the bands as follows:
- Band 1 – South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales
- Band 2 – Ireland, France, Australia, Japan
- Band 3 – Scotland, Argentina, Fiji, Italy
- Band 4 – Americas 1, Asia/Pacific 1, Europe 1, Oceania 1
- Band 5 – Africa 1, Europe 2, Americas 2, Final Qualifier Winner
In the presence of invited guests in Paris and players and fans watching from around the world via the official Rugby World Cup 2023 website, six ambassadors who embody French identity and culture drew the balls into the four pools. These ambassadors were photographer Yann-Arthus Bertrand, actor Jean Dujardin, designer Christian Louboutin, ballerina Alice Renavand, chef Guy Savoy and architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte.