Rugby World Cup arrives with a bang as Stade de France enjoys show

Rugby World Cup arrives with a bang as Stade de France is lit up with fireworks and 240 volunteers put on a show in opening ceremony… but President Emmanuel Macron is BOOED

  • The Rugby World Cup began with a quaint show inspired by French culture
  • Around 240 volunteers took part in a long performance with dances and music
  • France vs New Zealand LIVE: follow our live coverage of the World Cup opener 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

The Rugby World Cup began with an extravagant opening ceremony at the Stade de France ahead of the host nation’s clash with New Zealand. 

Fans were treated to a boisterous and quaint show infused with French culture, with a gigantic replica Eiffel Tower in the middle of the stadium, a flyover in their flag’s colours, and a baguette masquerading as a rugby ball. 

Fireworks fizzed out of the top of the ground and 240 volunteers performed to herald the arrival of a tournament which will run until October 28.

French president Emmanuel Macron was greeted with a chorus of boos as he took to the podium to give a speech. 

However, those boos soon turned into chants of ‘Allez les Bleus’ as he declared: ‘I wish you all a fantastic World Cup in France, full of courage and panache… The time has come. I now declare the Rugby World Cup open!’ 

A gigantic replica Eiffel Tower was erected in the middle of the Stade de France in a vibrant showcase of French culture 

A performance from around 240 volunteers entertained fans as the show built to a crescendo

President Emmanuel Macron gave a rallying speech but was initially booed by spectators

The ceremony began with actor Jean Dujardin wheeling his way into view with a stack of baguettes on a wooden contraption, handing them out to various people as traditional French music played. 

What followed was a dance and a love story, as Dujardin spotted a lady in pink across the floor. 

Prominent French singer Vianney, who has previously collaborated with Ed Sheeran, also made an appearance, and Zaz sang to soundtrack a dance in pairs, with Dujardin enjoying a twirl with his newfound love. 

There was even William Webb Ellis, long credited as the inventor of rugby, as a pretend projection of him made a speech about the sport. 

Performers gathered into a scrum and the impresive Eiffel Tower model was erected in the centre of the stadium. 

As the music built to a crescendo, fireworks boomed out of the top of the ground and the tricolour flag was drawn over the stadium as planes zoomed overhead.  

Each competing nation’s flag was on display to represent the teams vying to be back in Paris towards the end of October. 

Actor Jean Dujardin was the central figure in a carefully choreographed performance 

Zaz sang a traditional French song as actors and actresses danced to her tune 

French singer Vianney, who has previously collaborated with Ed Sheeran, showed his face

Performers formed the largest scrum you’ll see this World Cup as the show continued

Dujardin was suspended in the air as the outskirts of Paris became the heart of world rugby 

Rugby fever was in full swing among those who had secured tickets, with many fans sporting fancy dress

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