A couple of months have now passed since the conclusion of this year’s Six Nations Championship, where Scotland finished fourth in the table, level on points with England in third.

Although the Scots were overpowered by Ireland and France in the competition, they more than held their own against Wales in Cardiff and overpowered England at Murrayfield. So, with just over a year to go, how will Scotland fare at the Rugby World Cup (RWC)?

Scotland’s RWC 2023 pool

The draw for RWC 2023 took place back in December 2020. Thanks to the seeding system (Scotland were ranked 9th in the world at the time), Scotland were seeded in band three alongside Argentina, Fiji and Italy.

At the draw, they were placed in Pool B. Their opponents at this stage of RWC 2023 will be:

  • South Africa
  • Ireland
  • A qualifier from Asia/Pacific
  • Romania

On face value, the draw was relatively favourable for the Scots. Although South Africa are the reigning world champions and Ireland will provide stiff competition, Scotland will be expected to overpower both the Asia/Pacific qualifier and Romania.

The team also avoided the so-called ‘pool of death’, which contains New Zealand, France, Italy and Uruguay. That said, head coach Gregor Townsend believes that Scotland are in “the toughest pool”. However, he did add that “it is going to be very competitive” because the world rankings of South Africa, Ireland and Scotland are so close.

The bad news for the Scots is that the two qualifiers from their pool will play the two qualifiers from the ‘pool of death’. If South Africa win Scotland’s pool (as expected), this will likely mean that the Scots will face either New Zealand or home favourites France at the quarter-final stage. In a match like this, the Scots would be huge underdogs.

The strength of the Scotland squad

Although Scotland’s pool may look tough, the national side will go into the tournament with a great deal of confidence. After all, not only has the squad performed well in recent competitions, but it also contains a number of players who are quickly becoming stars on the international stage.

Last year, eight members of the Scotland squad toured with the British and Irish Lions on their tour of South Africa, with Duhan van der Merwe playing in all three of the test matches.

With Finn Russell, Ali Price and Stuart Hogg also putting in notable performances for both the Lions and Scotland, the Scottish rugby team currently seems to be as strong as it has ever been.


With almost 18 months still to go until the tournament starts, it’s tricky to predict how well Scotland will do. However, next year’s Six Nations campaign (particularly the game against Ireland) should give us a good indication of how the side may perform.

Given their group and potential quarter-final matchup, it appears that Scotland would do incredibly well to match their 4th place finish from 1991. However, given the quality of the squad that Gregor Townsend has at his disposal, the Scots could certainly cause an upset and will definitely be looking to emerge from the pools stage. From here, the very nature of knockout rugby (even against the All Blacks or home favourites France), could bring a surprise.