The defending champions of 2022, Australia, will get the tournament underway against Canada, before Great Britain play Denmark. In the other pool, France kick off against world number one side USA and face further matches against New Zealand and Japan.

This is the first time the International Wheelchair Rugby Cup has been organised at the same time as a Rugby World Cup.

"It's huge to have this organisation, it's the first time for us, plus it's in France," said Cédric Nankin, vice-captain of the French team speaking at a Rugby World Cup media event at Roland Garros.

"It's good preparation for us because next year there will be the Paralympic Games. It's a way for us to showcase our game and test ourselves a bit. We're certainly on top of Europe, but we also need to see what we're worth on the international stage.

"It's also about raising the profile of our sport, introducing it to the general public and taking advantage of the media coverage. We really hope that the public will come and support us because we're going to need it. We know it's going to be complicated, but we know we can do something great."

The same rugby spirit

Nankin may be in a wheelchair but sees disability through a different prism. In fact, he sees similarities - not differences - between him and his peers and the players competiting at Rugby World Cup 2023. 

"Generally, when you think of disability, you think of vulnerability, over-protection, you have to be careful... And here, we're talking about a contact sport that was once called 'murder ball', so that's a bit of an indication of the nature of the sport. There are wheelchairs that flip over, but also a lot of strategy. Visually, it doesn't look like traditional rugby, but the rugby spirit is there.

"It's one of the few mixed team sports with no age limit. The youngest player in my club is 15 and the oldest is 55."

As well as the tournaments taking place at the same time, Rugby World Cup France 2023 has also taken an active role in this WWR tournament organisation.

“We hope that the momentum from France 2023 will help provide a real spotlight on wheelchair rugby and para-sport as a whole with tickets starting from 5 euros. We really wanted to make this event accessible," said France 2023 Chairman, Jacques Rivoal. "We hope to welcome around 30,000 fans. The event will be broadcast on L’Equipe and the final live on L’Equipe 21. France are reigning European champions and will be contesting the title with eight of the best teams in the world. That is going to be a great spotlight and help accelerate the development of wheelchair rugby.“

As well as raising the exposure of the event, France 2023's involvement has also revolutionised things for the players. "It was completely different (before)," added Nankin. "it wasn't the same committee (and) it was on the periphery of the competition. We weren't taking advantage of the media or the Rugby World Cup audience. That's another advantage we have this year."

Nankin stopped short of giving Fabien Galthié and les Bleus any advice, although he is backing his countrymen to go all the way.

"You have to keep believing in yourself and in the team. I think they're going to go far and do well. I have every confidence in them."