when and how to watch TV

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Antoine Dupont of France in action during the match with Australia at the Stade de France on August 27, 2023
France captain Antoine Dupont in action in the 41-17 warm-up win over Australia in Paris – Getty Images/Christian Liewig

France host favorites New Zealand tonight in the much-anticipated Rugby World Cup opener.

The Pool A game will be the eighth time the teams have met at the World Cup – a record – with the All Blacks having won five times, and Les Bleus having been beaten twice.

New Zealand are the most decorated team in the World Cup with three titles and one runner-up, while the French have never won the cup and are second (to England), after for them to lose in the last three trips (twice to New. Zealand).

France are second favorites this year and will be desperate to break their duck on home soil. Their pool also includes Italy, Uruguay and Namibia.

Find out the latest team news, including the French starting XI, by scrolling down or by clicking here.

When is it?

France play New Zealand tonight (Friday, September 8) with the game kicking off at 8.15pm BST (9.15pm local time).

Where is it?

At the legendary Stade de France, built for the 1998 football World Cup, memorably won by the hosts, it has also been home to the country’s rugby team. It has hosted 97 men’s test matches, including the 2007 World Cup final and quarter-final in 1999.

The Stade de France will host 10 matches at RWC 2023, including the two semi-finals, the ‘bronze final’ and the final.

A panoramic view of the Stade de France on March 19, 2022

The Stade de France is located in Saint-Denis, just outside Paris – Getty Images / Franck Fife

Who is the referee?

Jaco Peyper from South Africa will be the man in charge of the match, with the two Englishmen Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley as his assistants, and another Englishman, Tom Foley, as the television match official.

How to watch TV

ITV has exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. The opening game will be broadcast on ITV1 from 6.45pm. Fans can also watch on the ITVX app.

Radio reports will be available exclusively on the BBC, via Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC says there will be “special coverage” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What is the recent history between the teams?

In their last five meetings, dating back to November 2017, New Zealand have won four times, with just one win for the French. New Zealand humiliated their hosts 38-18 in Paris six years ago, then completed a 3-0 clean sweep over visiting France in June 2018, but lost 40-25 in the French capital in 2021 – Les Bleus’ first win over All. Blacks in 12 years.

What’s the latest team news?

Both France and New Zealand will be without their first-choice inside centers when the most popular opening match in World Cup history gets underway tomorrow.

France center Jonathan Danty has failed his late fitness claim to feature against the All Blacks at the Stade de France, while Jordie Barrett is also ruled out with a knee injury.

France XV: T Ramos; D Penaud, G Fickou, Y Moefana, G Villière; M Jalibert, A Dupont (c); R Wardi, J Marchand, U Atonio, C Woki, T Flament, F Cross, C Ollivon, G Alldritt.
Replacements: P Mauvaka, JB Gros, D Aldegheri, R Taofifenua, P Boudehent, M Lucu, A Vincent, M Jaminet.

New Zealand XV: B Barrett; W Jordan, R Ioane, A Lienert-Brown, M Telea; R Mo’unga, A Smith; E De Groot, C Taylor, N Laulala; S Barrett, S Whitelock; D Papalii, S Cane (capt), A Savea.
Replacements: S Taukei’aho, O Tu’ungafasi, F Newell, T Vaa’i, L Jacobson, F Christie, D Havili, L Fainga’anuku.

Who are the teams in France and New Zealand?

France World Cup Team

Next: Dorian Aldegheri, Gregory Alldritt, Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Paul Boudehent, Pierre Bourgarit, Francois Cros, Sipili Falatea, Thibaud Flament, Jean-Baptiste Gros, Anthony Jelonch, Sekou Macalou, Julien Marchand, Peato Mauvaka, Charles Ollivon, Romain Taofifenua Reda Wardi, Paul Willemse, Cameron Woki.
Back: Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Baptiste Couilloud, Jonathan Danty, Antoine Dupont (captain), Gael Fickou, Antoine Hastoy, Matthieu Jalibert, Melvyn Jaminet, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos, Gabin Villiere, Arthur Vincent.

New Zealand World Cup Team

Next: Dane Coles, Samisoni Taukei’aho, Codie Taylor, Ethan de Groot, Nepo Laulala, Tyrel Lomax, Fletcher Newell, Ofa Tu’ungafasi, Tamaiti Williams, Scott Barrett, Brodie Retallick, Tupou Vaa’I, Sam Whitelock, Sam Cane (capt ), Shannon Frizell, Dalton Papalii, Luke Jacobson, Ardie Savea.
Back: Finlay Christie, Cam Roigard, Aaron Smith, Beuden Barrett, Damian McKenzie, Richie Mo’unga, Jordie Barrett, David Havili, Rieko Ioane, Anton Lienert-Brown, Caleb Clarke, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Emoni Narawa, Mark Telea, Will Jordan .

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