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Tickets now on sale as World XV set to face France in thrilling encounter

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Tuesday Apr 9, 2024

France are set to take on the World XV in Bilbao in June, as the Spanish location becomes the setting once again for the highest levels of international rugby. Already one of the eight venues involved in World Rugby’s international SVNS competition, Bilbao is set to now welcome the likes of Antoine Dupont, and Romain Ntamack from France as well as a plethora of incredible talent from the invitational World XV side.

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The World XV team will be led by the former All Blacks Head Coach Ian Foster, who led his New Zealand team to runners-up in Rugby World Cup 2023. He will be assisted by the Frenchman Patrice Collazo, currently Head Coach of Montpellier and previously with coaching roles at La Rochelle, Toulon and Brive.

 “It’s an incredible honour to be asked to coach the World XV and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Foster.

 “To coach an invitational side made up of top-class international players from around the globe is something truly unique. And playing the French team in the Basque region of Bilbao, we will certainly want to put on a show of attacking rugby, full of tries so the French, Spanish and Basque fans come away being fully entertained.

 “I am also looking forward to joining up with the former French prop Patrice Collazo – he brings a wealth of experience to the coaching set up with stints at a number of the Top 14 clubs, La Rochelle, Toulon, Brive and currently at Montpellier.

“We are in the process of putting together an impressive squad of players and Maxime Machenaud (Bayonne & France), Camille Lopez (Bayonne & France), Mako Vunipola (Saracens & England), Semi Radradra (Lyon & Fiji), Billy Vunipola (Saracens & England), Tevita Tatafu (Bayonne) are already confirmed to play for the World XV.”

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BARNET, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 01: Joe Heyes of Leicester Tigers takes on Billy Vunipola and Mako Vunipola during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Saracens and Leicester Tigers at the StoneX Stadium on October 01, 2022 in Barnet, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Jean-Marc Lhermet, Vice-President of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) said : “We are pleased to be able to announce today this very high-level international match in Bilbao. Our French team is a magnificent tool for exporting rugby to countries where our sport continues to grow. It is a pride and a privilege to participate in its development. We can’t wait to see this magical stadium filled with the massive atmosphere that Basque supporters know how to create”.

Spanish Rugby Union (FER) President Juan Carlos Martín ‘Hansen’ added: “The selection of Spain as the venue to host a match of the highest international level proves the attractiveness of our country. We are delighted to host this historic match and happy to see San Mamés and Bilbao coming together to host rugby events of this magnitude, which undoubtedly enhances the growth of rugby in our country.”

  • Tickets are now on sale at thematchrugby.com

The event will have the full support of Bilbao City Council and the Provincial Council of Bizkaia with the expectation that the capital of Biscay will once again experience a great international rugby festival. This will be the second rugby match to be held at San Mamés following the European Rugby Champions Cup Final in 2018, which is due to return in 2026.

Juan Mari Aburto, Mayor of Bilbao, said: “Holding this sporting event in Bilbao gives us the chance to revive the great passion with which we hosted the 2018 European finals, staged for the first time outside of a Six Nations country. An historic occasion and a challenge that we celebrated then at San Mamés and that we will now enjoy again in preparation for the 2026 finals. New milestones and events in which we will demonstrate, once again, our professionalism and the pride of our city that shares all the values of rugby: integrity, passion, commitment, effort and teamwork.”

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Ainara Basurko, Deputy for Economic Promotion of the Provincial Council of Bizkaia, said: “After securing the rugby finals for 2026 and the success they represented in 2018, we once again eagerly welcome the celebration of a match on the road to the new finals, a top-level sporting event that will take place in our territory. These are sporting events that position the Bilbao-Bizkaia brand well to showcase once again what we are and have to share.”

Tickets are on sale through www.thematchrugby.com with prices for adults from €35 and children 14 and under from €17.50. Discounts will apply for Groups of more than 10 people.

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