World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin - 'Everyone is talking about the rugby'

SAINT-ÉTIENNE - World Rugby's Chief Executive Alan Gilpin shares his thoughts on the tournament so far, highlighting where improvements can be made, the work to keep rugby clean and his predictions on the winner of the Webb Ellis Cup.

Alan Gilpin, World Rugby Chief Executive

On his assessment of the tournament so far:

"Really good. We are at the stage where everyone is talking about the rugby, which is great. The first weekend obviously there were some challenges with transport in a couple of places but I think we are well past that now. 

"We've seen some great games. There's a few more big games this weekend obviously. We are in good shape. It's amazing to think by the end of the weekend, we're 24 games in and half-way through the tournament, which is crazy.

"The hosts are playing really well and that is important too. It was an amazing opening night."  

On working to improve fan experience, particularly around understanding on-field decisions:

"Working with our broadcasters, we are committed to making sure the fan experience is the best it can be, making sure - whether you are in the stadium or watching at home - you are understanding the decisions being made."

On the importance of the 'Keep Rugby Clean' weekend: 

"Ultimately it's about educating particularly players and young players around the world about the need to keep the game clean or anything that is performance enhancing. We really feel there is not an issue in rugby, certainly at the elite level. But it's making sure we use this big platform to drive that message home. 

"It's great, as it is in every men's and women's Rugby World Cup, that the teams and the players really get behind that message and project it for us." 

On Rugby World Cup 2023's testing regime: 

"Intelligent testing is the mantra. Pre-tournament as we're tracking through to understanding what 20 teams are going to be here, we're testing that whole pool of teams. 

'We actually took the opportunity to re-test all the 2019 World Cup samples with the latest testing technology. 

"And then in-competition and obviously out-of-competition testing leading up and now there's a testing regime at every match.

"It's an important part of providing the public with certainty that this is a tournament they can have faith and belief in." 

On the foul play review bunker system so far: 

"I think the foul play review bunker is working well. It is a new process and we are working hard to make sure people see the right replays and better understand the decisions that are being made."

On his hopes for injured France scrum-half Antoine Dupont's speedy recovery: 

"We wish Antoine and the team the best. A horrible injury, hopefully he will be back before the end of the tournament. One of the best players in the world certainly and important to France as a talisman, as much as he is as a player."

On who he thinks will win the Webb Ellis Cup: 

"It's always a tough one. The game between Ireland and South Africa is going to be another epic game. We saw that opening night between France and New Zealand. I think between those four. 

"But you never know, the likes of Argentina, England, Japan are still in with a shout in their group. We've got massive fixtures this week in the group that involves Wales and Australia and Fiji too, plus Scotland will have a point to prove. 

"As we start to shape up for the quarter-finals, we'll get a real sense of what is going on."