We put our necks on the line for the tournament winners and game by game calls

Rugby World Cup 2023 is set to get underway on Friday but who will the tournament and lift the Webb Ellis trophy on Saturday October 28? It’s time for our Rugby World Cup predictions.

Hosts France and New Zealand get us underway in Paris but there are plenty of bumper games in store this weekend as England take on Argentina and Wales face Fiji. South Africa v Scotland is another belter that could potentially go either way.

Read more: Rugby World Cup fixtures

We’ve assembled the views of some of the team here at Rugby World  Who will nail it and who will be looking back sheepishly come November? It’s time to find out…

Rugby World Cup predictions – Who will win the tournament?

SOUTH AFRICA – Alan Dymock, Editor of Rugby World

“The Boks look ominous, don’t they? This isn’t short-term thinking based on one mighty win over New Zealand, but more their squad make-up, their evolving – yes, evolving – tactics, and the fact that no matter how you dice it up, the rout to the final from pools A and B are nightmarish. The Boks look like they’ve made their peace with that and are fired up about it. The global game probably needs, or at least wants, a different name on the trophy. But since when have the Springboks ever cared what outsiders think?”

FRANCE – Josh Graham, Content Editor at Rugby World

“I’ve always said France and I’m sticking by the hosts. A few key injuries have got me sweating on whether or not I’ve made the right choice but Fabien Galthié’s men have the strength in depth to cope. Factor in the 16th man of raucous home support and you’ll do well to look past them. Beat New Zealand in the opener and you won’t reel them in. Lose to the All Blacks and expect a repeat of South Africa’s show in 2019 when they did the same and still lifted the trophy.”

Related: Rugby World Cup pools

Rugby World Cup predictions – Game by game

Friday 8 September

France v New Zealand predictions

Alan Dymock: France by four. What an occasion. And boy isn’t it time for the French to deliver on biggest stage of all. They can do it, but despite New Zealand missing some key players in Brodie Retallick, Jordie Barrett and Tyrel Lomax, it’ll be closer than fans would want. Great for the neutrals though!

Josh Graham: France by six points. No Jonathan Danty is a huge blow for France but Moefana is a capable deputy and NZ are also missing Jordie Barrett which balances things.

Saturday 9 September

Italy v Namibia predictions

Alan Dymock: Italy by 35+. Italy are young and exciting, and crucially devoid of fear. Namibia are tenacious and determined, but the gulf in class will tell, and early.

Josh Graham: Italy by 55 points. It’s time for this young Italian side to cut free on the big stage. Plenty of talent and little pedigree in opposition should see this being very one-sided in Saint-Etienne.

Ireland v Romania predictions

Alan Dymock: Ireland by 70 points. At least. This will be a rout. Ireland are in a good place and full of talent. Romania have shambled their way through the prep phase. The last time these two met at a World Cup was at Wembley, in 2015. There was a record crowd that day. You won’t get that here, but you’ll see a big score.

Josh Graham: Ireland by 60 points. The World’s No 1 side against a free-falling Romania in turmoil. You do the maths. I may have been too conservative…

Australia v Georgia predictions

Alan Dymock: Australia by six. Georgia can really hurt Australia, and they’ll know that. The difference will be the Wallabies’ big ball carriers. And Georgia infringing trying to keep ahold of them. Expect to see some big men throwing some dainty offloads for the team in gold.

Josh Graham: Australia by four points. Having just returned from Tbilisi, I really wanted to back the Lelos but I think the Wallabies will have just enough to secure the first win of Eddie Jones’s second coming.

England v Argentina predictions

Alan Dymock: England by two. For all the disappointment and dullness on the park, it’s precisely England’s stricture that could help negotiate a match which could get heated. Mathieu Raynal as referee will put his whistle to use, and the team who survive between the set-pieces without infringing could take this one. Just. By the skin of their teeth.

Josh Graham: Argentina by ten points. Argentina have shown plenty of mettle but aren’t perhaps as strong as previous years but even still, they should be too much for an England side coming off a first ever loss to Fiji.

Sunday 10 September

Japan v Chile predictions

Alan Dymock: Japan by 30. Chile’s story is amazing. But the professionalism of Japan will tell. The Brave Blossoms aren’t in a great place themselves, but the should dutifully close this one out.

Josh Graham: Japan by 35 points. Chile’s first-ever game will be worth celebrating but don’t expect there to be too much more in the way of on-field achievements. Japan badly need a win and good performance and should ease through this contest.

South Africa v Scotland predictions

Alan Dymock: South Africa by 12. Scotland are the spanner in the works, the stick in the spokes, the shrapnel in the salad. But there’s no getting away from power up-front. The Boks clearly think that will give them a strong enough platform to give not one but two jinky wee fliers in Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt-Lee Arendse the run of the park. Scotland’s hope is getting the South African defensive radar on the fritz with their array of wide passing, kick passing and identification of space in behind.

Josh Graham: South Africa by 8 points. It’s a colossal match-up and arguably the game of the round. But with that bulldozing of the All Blacks at Twickenham under their belt, the Springboks should squeeze out a resurgent Scotland in Marseille.

Wales v Fiji predictions

Alan Dymock: Wales by three. This will be beauty and the beast, with Fiji having a go. But the control Caleb Muntz displayed against England in that incredible Twickenham victory is now gone, cruelly taken away by a knee injury in training. Fiji will play with more street smarts and physicality than they get credit for but Warren Gatland’s Wales side will be ruthless about taking the pragmatic option here.

Josh Graham: Draw. I was leaning towards Fiji after beating England at Twickenham but the Caleb Muntz injury will be disruptive. Wales don’t know their best team but have had a physical beating. Too close to call so could finish all square.

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