The Wallabies will face France in Paris before the 2023 World Cup, schedule, date, details, pre-tournament match

In a major blow for Rugby Australia, the Wallabies will face Les Bleus ahead of the 2023 World Cup in France.

The historic game, which will be the last match the two nations play before the World Cup, was orchestrated by the rich relationship between the two nations.

Recent tournaments have seen the Wallabies conclude their preparations for the World Cup by taking on an emerging nation.

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In 2015, Michael Cheika’s Wallabies played USA in Chicago.

Four years later they were playing Samoa in Western Sydney.

But such is the relationship between France and Australia, the Wallabies will face one of the favorites to win the World Cup in their own backyard in August 2023, before the tournament takes place in September and October.

The Wallabies last faced the French in Paris at the end of 2016, winning 25-23. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFESource: AFP

The relationship between the two rugby nations was demonstrated last November when RA chairman Hamish McLennan and two-time World Cup winner Phil Kearns met World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte , in Paris.

As RA sought to win support from World Rugby and the Home Unions with their own World Cup bid on the line, McLennan and Kearns caught a train to Paris on November 18.

The trio were accompanied by renowned French chef Guillaume Brahimi, who also acted as a translator for Laporte, as they dined in the Saint-Germain district of Paris.

They made a gesture to say thank you to Laporte – a man whose weight is worth gold in the world of rugby – who had encouraged France to keep their end of the bargain by touring Australia last July.

Without France’s descent, RA would have been “screwed up”, as various sources have explained, with tens of millions of dollars slipping by unnoticed through takeovers and broadcast revenue.

“Forget sub deals, rugby is alive and well between France and Australia and I think a big part of our future will be tied to our alignment with this country and its clubs,” McLennan said. .

“Guillaume Brahimi hosted one of the most memorable lunches in Paris as Kearnsie and I made a quick jump to France to catch up with Bernard Laporte, who has a big heart for rugby in Australia and wants to support us.”

French President Emmanuel Macron (right) holds a ball alongside French Rugby Union Federation President Bernard Laporte in 2019. (Photo by Christophe Ena / POOL / AFP)Source: AFP

The alliance building comes at an important time, with World Rugby officials yet to ratify their bid for World Cup rights for 2027.

It also comes after a tense few years with neighboring New Zealand, which has undermined Australia on several occasions, notably since the start of the Covid pandemic.

“I don’t know what the Kiwis will do, but they see themselves as the Harlem Globetrotters of World Rugby, which raised a few eyebrows in World Rugby,” McLennan added.

Still, the hare-and-hare blood sauce the duo enjoyed as part of a five-course meal last November was an important moment of relationship building.

Laporte’s voice is one of the strongest in World Rugby and RA sees his future closely aligned with France.

Kearns, who has toured France three times as Wallaby and said their relationship has always been “very strong”, said the meeting was timely and productive.

Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan and Rugby World Cup 2027 bid executive Phil Kearns with the Wallabies at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Stuart Walmsley/Rugby AustraliaSource: Supplied

“We just thought it was the right thing to do,” Kearns said.

“Bernard is the vice-chairman of World Rugby, and it would be almost rude not to go see him.

“But at the same time we had close encounters with the Scots, the English and the Welsh; not so much the Irish because we haven’t played a test against them, but we will next time.

“We heard we had some Home Nations critics, but once we met them and explained to them what we were trying to do, it made sense to them and we were able to get their support.”

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