France v New Zealand, Rugby World Cup 2023: when is it and how to watch on TV

France captain Antoine Dupont in action during the 41-17 warm-up victory over Australia in Paris – Getty Images/Christian Liewig

Hosts France take on favourites New Zealand tonight in the most eagerly-anticipated Rugby World Cup opening match of all time.

The Pool A clash will be the eighth time the sides have met at the World Cup – a record – with the All Blacks having been victorious five times, while Les Bleus have triumphed twice.

New Zealand are the most decorated World Cup side with three titles and one runners-up finish, while the French have never won the trophy and are joint top runners-up (with England), having lost in the final three times (twice to New Zealand).

France are second favourites 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 will play New Zealand tonight (Friday, Sept 8) with the match kicking off at 8.15pm BST (9.15pm local time).

Where is it?

At the legendary Stade de France, which was built for the 1998 football World Cup, memorably won by the hosts, and has also become home for the nation’s rugby team. It has hosted 97 men’s Test matches, including the 2007 World Cup final and a quarter-final in 1999.

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

A general view of the 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?

South Africa’s Jaco Peyper will be the man in charge, with English duo Karl Dickson and Christophe Ridley as his assistants, and another Englishman, Tom Foley, as the television match official.

How to watch on TV

ITV have exclusive broadcast rights to show the Rugby World Cup in the UK. Coverage of the opening match will be on ITV1 from 6.45pm. Fans can also watch on the ITVX app.

Radio commentary will be available only on the BBC, across Radio 5 Live, 5 Sports Extra and the BBC Sounds service. The BBC says there will be a “bespoke output” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

What is the recent history between the teams?

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

What is the latest team news?

Both France and New Zealand will be without their respective first-choice inside centres when the most hotly-anticipated opening World Cup match in history kicks off tomorrow night.

Jonathan Danty, France’s star centre, has failed in his late fitness charge 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 Cros, C Ollivon, G Alldritt.
Replacements: P Mauvaka, J-B 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 is in the France and New Zealand squads?

France World Cup squad

Forwards: 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. 
Backs: 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 squad

Forwards: 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 (captain), Shannon Frizell, Dalton Papalii, Luke Jacobson, Ardie Savea. 
Backs: 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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