Bonjour, bonjour, à toutes et à tous.
And a warm welcome to the Rugby World Cup 2023 Draw in Paris.
Like most of you, I am following today’s proceedings from behind a screen. COVID-19 might stop us from travelling but it can’t stop the excitement building towards France 2023. This is where it starts!
What an honour to hear those inspiring words from President Macron.
There could be no better place than France to celebrate the 200th anniversary of our game in 2023.
France knows better than most the power of sport to bring a country together.
And, in challenging times, this tournament represents a positive and exciting time for everyone.
It’s the promise of a celebration like no other, the best of rugby and the best of France.
And this will be for all of France, with nine match venues, 10 host cities. A nation united behind the event.
Rugby World Cup 2023 will be great for rugby, but not only for rugby.
In a world of change and uncertainty accelerated by the global pandemic, it is important that major events are not just a celebration of sporting performance but a symbol of unity, diversity and change.
The social and sporting legacy plans are inspirational, and that legacy starts today.
This is the moment when Rugby World Cup 2023 starts – for teams, players, host cities and fans all around the world.
I’m one of them, and I’ll be watching with excitement to see the composition of the pools, and the big fixtures, for the 10th men’s Rugby World Cup.
Before then, let me conclude by thanking the French government, the host city authorities, our friends at the France 2023 Organising Committee, the FFR and, most importantly, all the people of France whose enthusiasm, commitment and support will make France 2023 one of the great Rugby World Cups.
I wish all the teams involved the very best of luck.
See you in France 2023!