What to expect from France's Rugby World Cup opening ceremony

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What to expect from France's Rugby World Cup opening ceremony
France supporters are set to pack Stade de France on September 8th for the opening match of the Rugby World Cup. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

Ahead of the first match of the Rugby World Cup, hosts France will be holding a spectacular opening ceremony featuring an Oscar-winning actor at the Stade de France.


It's the question on every rugby fan's lips . . .

No - not the one about whether France can beat New Zealand in the opening match on September 8th (they can, but it definitely won’t be easy). 

Or the one about the logic of holding the draw three years ahead of the tournament. (Yes, the top five sides in the world heading into the tournament are on the same side of the draw, it's happened - live with it.)

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Not the one, either, about whether misfiring England will make it out of their pool (no comment).

The question that matters is - what’s going on with the opening ceremony?

Here’s what we know…

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Jean Dujardin is involved

The Oscar-winner and celebrity French rugby fan will host a 20-minute opening spectacular at Stade de France before kick-off of the opening match between hosts France and three-time champions New Zealand on the evening of Friday, September 8th. 

We’ve been promised, “a cast of stars in a show that will celebrate the best of France,” according to World Rugby. 

And Dujardin revealed a bit more about what's involved this week.

For a little over 20 minutes, spectators at Stade de France and television viewers will be immersed in a love story about a baker (Dujardin) and a costume designer (prima ballerina Alice Renavand) set in a 1950s French village.

A total 33 high-profile guests - including singers Vianney and Zaz, environmentalist Yann Arthus Bertrand and chefs Guy Savoy and Yves Camdeborde - and 200 volunteers “will represent France’s unique savoir-faire in the realms of gastronomy, sports and the arts”, the governing body has said.

It's something of a love letter to France's romantic past - with modern dance touches. Dujardin described the performance as "physical" for a reason. Also the Patrouille de France is set for a flyover of the stadium as the show draws to a close - and the main event nears.


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A post shared by Jean Dujardin (@jeandujardin)

Can we get tickets?

At this late stage? Not through the official resale site. Elsewhere, some resale sites apparently do have a few tickets available, but you’ll pay through the nose for them. Also be aware that resale sites are not approved to sell tickets, so there's a risk of being scammed if you use one. Honestly, now, unless you're ridiculously lucky, it's too late.   

So, how can we watch?

If you’re not lucky enough to be among the 80,000-plus crowd at Stade de France, the good news is that the whole shebang will be on TV. In France, the opening ceremony and the France v New Zealand match is on free-to-air channel TF1.

You could also head to one of the fan zones in France's 9 host cities - these will be showing the opening ceremony and match on big screens with entertainment, snacks and (of course) beer.

Through the tournament, every match in the tournament is available free to air on TF1, as well as France Televisions and M6.


Rights holder TF1 will show 20 matches, including all matches involving France, while France Télévisions has 10 matches and M6 will show 18 games. 

When is it on?

The big match kicks off at 9.15pm on Friday, September 8th. The opening ceremony starts at 8pm - after which the two teams will have a shortened warm-up period on the pitch before returning to their dressing rooms ahead of the anthems - and kick-off.

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